Read your messages (Android)

Android 4.0+

Gmail “pushes” new messages to your phone or tablet automatically when they arrive. You don’t need to do anything to make them appear.

When you receive a new message, the Gmail icon appears on your screen and a notification appears in your list of notifications—unless you've turned off notifications for the Gmail account.

Tip: Most icons in Gmail have tooltips that describe what they do. To view a tooltip, touch and hold the icon.

Read a message

When viewing a list of conversations, touch one to read the messages it contains.

A conversation opens to the first new (unread) message, or to the first starred message. You can star messages to find them again easily. To move to the previous or next conversation, just swipe left or right.

The message header shows who sent the message, when, who it was sent to, and other information. A paperclip icon indicates that the message has an attachment. To show or hide detailed address information for the sender and recipients, touch View details.

Message actions

When reading messages sent to your Gmail address in a conversation, use icons at the top of the screen to archive, delete, or mark the conversation as unread:

Mark as unread

While reading a conversation, you can also touch Menu ( or your device's menu button) to Move to a certain label, Change labels, Mark not important, Mute, Print, Report spam and Report phishing.

Archive vs. Delete for Gmail addresses

Archive removes the message from your Inbox but keeps it in your account so that you can find it later. Delete moves the message to the Trash where it will be permanently deleted from your account after 30 days. Messages deleted from Trash can’t be recovered. Gmail gives you plenty of storage space, so if you think there’s a chance you’ll need the message later, just archive it.

Learn more

Android 2.2-2.3

When viewing a list of conversations in your Inbox or in a label, you can open a conversation to read its messages. A conversation opens to the first new (unread) message, or to the first starred message, if you've previously starred a message in the conversation.

  • Use the left and right arrow buttons at the bottom of a message to open the next or previous conversation in the Inbox.

  • Touch your device's Back button to view the last message that you read.

Mark as unread

When reading a message or when its tab is selected, you can press Menu > Mark unread to return a read message to the unread state -- for example, to remind yourself to read it again later.

Expand collapsed messages

Just like in Gmail on a computer, messages that you've previously read are collapsed to save space on your screen.

To expand these messages:

  1. Select the tab that indicates the number of previously read messages.
  2. The tab expands into tabs that list the sender and the first line of each read message.
  3. Select an expanded tab to re-read the message.

The message header shows who sent the message, when, who it was sent to, and other information. For more information, touch Show details.

Contact the sender

You can touch the message sender’s Quick Contact icon to open a list of ways you can quickly contact the sender.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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