Google unveils new Gmail app interface to match desktop redesign

It's hard to believe we're coming up on a year since Google redesigned the Gmail web interface, which was sorely needed at the time. Now the Gmail mobile apps for Android and iOS are getting the same treatment to further synchronize the design and features of the service across all platforms.

Gmail is adding the 'smart' features from the desktop, and cleaning up the interface.

With an update arriving in the coming weeks, Gmail apps will gain feature parity (or close to it) with the desktop version. That means faster email responses with machine learning-derived Smart Compose suggestions, better Smart Reply for quick replies, and "nudge" reminders to get back to someone after you've marked an email as read but haven't yet replied.

The main interface is going to highlight attachments within emails so you can view them before even tapping in to each message, and Gmail is making it easier to switch between multiple accounts. You'll also see enhanced alerts about potential phishing emails so you can keep your account safe from attacks.

From what we can see in Google's announcement, the interface draws heavily from the design sensibilities of the desktop version, but also feels like it incorporates some of the look of the now-shuttered Inbox app. The interface is very white, which isn't going to make the dark mode stans happy, and thins out lines and adds colors to help break up the vast swaths of white. There's a distinct lack of the typical Gmail red, too, which again matches the desktop.

Google's promo screenshots show a prominent Google search bar at the top rather than a small button in the current version, and puts a focus on the "social, promotions and updates" flags at the top of the inbox — let's hope that can be configured like the desktop interface. We'll have a better idea of all of the configuration options when the update arrives in February.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.