Inbox categories (iPhone & iPad)

This information is for the official Gmail app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Messages in your inbox are classified into categories such as Social, Promotions, and Updates. These categories make it easy to see messages of the same type all at once.

Navigate between categories

When you open the Gmail app, you’ll see your Primary category. To see your other categories, touch the Menu icon iOS Menu icon. You can also get to this menu by swiping from the left side of your screen while viewing a list of conversations.

I don’t have categories

If you don’t see categories like Primary or Social when you touch the Menu icon iOS Menu icon, you’ll need to change your inbox settings from the desktop version of Gmail.

  1. Open Gmail on a computer.
  2. Click the gear icon Gear icon in the upper right, then select Configure inbox.
  3. Check the boxes of the categories you want to see.
  4. Click Save.

Choose your categories

You can choose to show or hide as many categories as you need. Messages in hidden categories will appear in your Primary category instead.

Learn more about each category

Gmail Inbox Primary icon   Primary
Messages from friends and family, as well as any other messages that don’t appear in other tabs.

Gmail Inbox Promotions icon   Promotions
Your deals, offers, and other promotional emails.

Gmail Inbox Social icon   Social
Messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms, and other social websites.

Gmail Inbox Updates icon   Updates
Notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.

Gmail Inbox Forums icon   Forums
Messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists.

Show or hide categories

To change which categories are shown, you’ll need to change your inbox settings from the desktop version of Gmail.

  1. Open Gmail on a computer.
  2. Click the + icon to the right of your tabs.
    Inbox tab settings
  3. Check the boxes of the categories you want to see.
  4. Click Save.

If you prefer to see all your messages in one list, simply hide all tabs . Primary will stay checked.

Move messages between categories

If you see a message in your inbox that you want in a different category, you can easily move it.

  1. Open a message in the Gmail app.
  2. Touch the more menu ▼ in the upper right corner.
  3. Touch Gmail Move icon Move...
  4. Select a category.

You can also move messages while viewing a message list. Select one or more messages using the checkboxes on the left and touch the folder icon Gmail Move icon.

Starred messages

Messages you mark with a star will also appear in your Primary category so they are easier to keep track of.

To star a message, touch the star icon to the right of a message while viewing your inbox, or next to the sender’s name while viewing a message.

Don’t include starred messages in Primary
  1. Open Gmail on a computer.
  2. Click the + icon to the right of your tabs.
    Inbox tab settings
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Include starred in Primary”.
  4. Click Save.

New message summary

When you receive new mail, you’ll see a quick summary in your inbox that tells you how many new messages you’ve received in each category since you last checked that category. Simply touch a summary to view your new messages.

Notifications

Categories give you another way to customize your notifications. You can choose to be notified about all new messages, only messages in Primary, or none.

  1. In the Gmail app, go to Menu iOS Menu icon and touch the gear icon iOS Gear Icon.
  2. Choose either All new mail, Primary only, or None under “Notifications.”
  3. Click Save.

If you have multiple accounts, this setting can be customized for each account.

Learn more about notifications.

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

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