Gmail's visual refresh makes it more friendly with foldable phones

The Gmail logo on a Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Gmail has received a two-pane view on foldable phones.
  • The inbox list view is now on the left side of the interface, while the message content is on the right. 
  • Google is rolling out the visual refresh to book-folding phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Google is rolling out a much-needed UI overhaul to the Gmail app on foldable phones, giving the email client an interface more fitting for wider screens.

The Gmail app now displays a two-pane view on many of the best foldable phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Google announced in a blog post. The visual refresh puts the inbox list on the left part of the screen, while the email contents appear on the right.

It's the latest step in Google's broader effort to fix Android on tablets and foldable devices, which began with the release of Android 12L. Prior to the change, Gmail's inbox list took up the entire screen of foldable devices. While this is ideal for conventional smartphones, the potential of large-screen devices is squandered due to a lack of software optimization that makes practical use of some of that space.

The two-pane view is available for the Meet and Chat tabs in the Gmail app as well. The makeover is presumably applicable only to book-style folding phones, leaving the Motorola Razrs of the world out in the cold.

Gmail two-pane view

(Image credit: Google)

If you need to compose a new email, the Compose FAB (floating action button) sits at the bottom of the left half of the screen, and the search bar is above the inbox. Meanwhile, the bottom bar spans the entire width of the screen.

More importantly, the update saves you time navigating between the inbox list and the email content. Minor software tricks like these also give foldable devices their own identity, distinct from the traditional slabs of glass that have received all of Google's attention in recent years.

It's also presumably part of Google's preparations for the upcoming launch of its first in-house tablet, the Pixel Fold, though details on its exact launch date are still scarce at the moment.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.