The mobile first world is alive and well, and we’ve been living in it for the past two years or more. Ask someone on the street what mobile first really means, though, and they will most likely start talking about web browsing, checking Facebook and maybe streaming music and videos.

Yet there is another thing that almost all of us use our mobiles to do, and that’s keeping on top of email. We do it almost without thinking, and for such an everyday occurrence, there is precious little in the way of advice for doing it better and smarter. Let’s put that right with a look at some simple ways to get the most out of the Android version of Gmail, the most popular email platform on the planet.

Set your swipes

On a desktop, we are typically far better organized with our emails than on mobile, and that is because it can seem so fiddly filing and archiving messages. But why mess around when you can simply swipe them into the right place? Go to the settings menu in Gmail, and from general settings, select Gmail default actions, where you can match your swipes to your most common actions.

Think before you send

One of the biggest changes over the past two years is that while we used to use mobile predominantly to check messages, we are now sending more from our mobile devices than ever. It is strange that basic rules for ensuring we do not fall foul of spam filters fly out of the window as soon as we are on mobile. A set of basic guidelines were recently published on the blog from, and provide expert advice from a company at the heart of spam filtering that should guide and inform every email, particularly for business users.

Search smarter

Trying to search for a specific message is one thing that’s almost guaranteed to send users back to the desktop. This is not because the search function is inferior on the Android app, it’s just that people have no idea how to use it. There’s really no excuse given that Google has even published this handy cheat sheet to tell you all the search terms you will ever need.


There are some messages that are not spam but can nevertheless clog up your inbox. Those daily updates that you take a look at when you get a moment but more commonly never quite get to, or the drawn out conversation with a well-meaning but clearly bored friend, for example. The mute function is a great way to consign these to background noise so that they do not distract your focus from what’s important. The mute function is right there is the more menu (those three vertical dots) and if you select it, any new messages will be quietly placed to one side – but will still be marked unread for when you get a chance to look at them.

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