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7/22/13
Original Poster
Google user

How to turn off Gmail Categories in Android and Gmail

These are step-by-step directions on how to turn off Categories in both your Android device(s) and Gmail: I have done this with both my Android phone and my android tablet, and it worked perfectly. Credit to Mr. Dalen Talas for figuring this out:
 
1)
Go into your web-based Gmail and make sure you have turned off the categories. You go into the Settings menu (the gear), select "Settings" and go to the "Labels" tab.
 
2)
Under "Categories" click "Hide" for all of the Categories that you do not want to see. (I hid them all to completely get rid of Categories.)
 
3)
Exit your web-based Gmail.
 
Now we are going to work on your Android device. In general, what you will be doing is completely clearing out your phone or tablet of everything that is in Gmail. THIS WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR GMAIL ACCOUNT, IT ONLY CLEARS OUT THE PHONE OR TABLET SO YOU CAN START OVER. I was worried at first that I would lose all of my Gmail stuff, but that is not the case. This works beautifully and you will not lose anything.
 
4)
On your Android device (phone, tablet, whatever) go to Settings> Apps > Gmail
 
5)
Click "Clear cache"
 
6)
Click "Clear data"
 
NOTE: You will now see a dialog box that says, "All this app's data will be deleted permanently. This includes all files, settings, accounts, databases, etc."
 
This will only delete what is on your phone or tablet. It WILL NOT delete your Gmail account. Also note that the dialog box is wrong. Your accounts will not be deleted on the phone or tablet, only the mail and settings for those accounts will be deleted.
 
7)
Click OK
 
8)
Now exit Settings and go into your Gmail app. You may have to synchronize if it has not already done so. You will also have to go into the settings for each of your Gmail accounts to reset any special settings you had, such as which ringtone to use for notification, whether or not it vibrates, how many days of mail to download to your phone, etc. Basically it is just like setting up your preferences for a brand new account, only you are doing it (again) for your existing accounts.
 
OH! By the way! Look! NO CATEGORIES!!!!
 
If you have more than one Android device, such as both a phone and a tablet, you will have to do this on each device.
 
Personally, I am rather annoyed that someone from Google did not simply publish this in the first place, instead of leaving customers to figure this out. This procedure is not intuitively obvious. I am also not impressed by Google's software QA. If one is going to write a warning dialog box, at least get it right.
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Expert Replies (11)
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Irritated44
7/22/13
Irritated44
Have you missed a step out? I go into gmail, do what you say, exit, go back in and the categories are still there. Presumably, there is a need to save the changes, but there doesn't seem to be a save button.
7/22/13
Original Poster
Google user
You have to go into web-based Gmail on your computer and hide the categories first, THEN go into your Android device and complete the process. Start at Step one in my description and do not skip any steps.
Irritated44
7/23/13
Irritated44
Are you saying that this method only applies where you (a) use gmail and (b) have an Android device?
7/23/13
Original Poster
Google user
That is correct. If you use Gmail on your Android device, this is the way to turn off the categories. However, you MUST go into web-based Gmail and turn off the categories there first.
 
As far as I know, you cannot have Categories ON in web-based Gmail and OFF in Android. They both have to be the same.
deadbird
7/23/13
deadbird
Tom thanks for the info. I could not figure out how to get Promotion and Social out of my Android phone and tablet Gmail. Your step by step worked perfectly. Thanks again
 
Leonard
104 MORE
Jaybee Garcia
5/14/14
Jaybee Garcia
Nope
 
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