You may have noticed that Gmail looks a little different this week. Especially if you view it on your computer. That's because Google rolled out an automatic update to Gmail that tweaks its design so that Google's services — like Chat, Meet and Spaces — are more easily accessible. Specifically, you can quickly access them via a navigation bar on the left side of the screen. While convenient, it also adds a little clutter if you don't particularly want it.
The Gmail update has rolled out to a lot of users this week, but not all. So if your Gmail doesn't look any different than it previously has, you're in the clear for now. And fortunately there's a quick and easy way to get it back to the way it was.
How to Switch Gmail Back to the Old Look
- Open Gmail in your web browser.
- Select the Settings icon (top right corner).
- Under Quick Settings, at the top of the side menu, you should see a message saying "You're using the new Gmail view." Select the link beneath it saying "Go back to the original view."
- Select Reload.
And — boom — you're all set. If you feel the need to go back to the new look of Gmail, you can easily do that too. Simply follow the same exact steps as above and, under Quick Settings, select the link that says "Try out the new Gmail view."
How to hide the side panel in Gmail's new look
The new-look Gmail has a lot going on. In addition, the new side panel with quick access to Chat, Meet and Spaces, there's also the traditional side panel with your traditional options for Gmail, such as Inbox, Starred, Drafts, Trash, all your labels and so on. If you want to clear up some screen real estate, you can easily hide the latter side panel. Simply click the icon in the top-left corner (right next to the Gmail logo and above the "Mail" icon). This will hide Gmail's main menu panel. If you click that same icon again, the menu panel will reappear.
Of course, as with all web service design changes, the option to revert is going to be limited time only. Eventually, Google is all but certain to remove the option to opt-out. But until then, enjoy it while it lasts.