Want to come back to a message (as new!) again later? Find out here how to mark an email as unread in the Gmail app for Android and iPhone.
First, a Much-Needed Quote about Literature
Here’s one of my favorite quotes about a scholarly article:
It fills a much-needed gap in the literature.
I can, alas, only quote it without attribution. If anybody filled this abhorrent gap in my knowledge, I should be most grateful!
Either way, want to un-read something in Gmail, and un-read using its smartphone app to boot?
How to Mark Email as Unread in the Gmail App
Using the Toolbar (Works with Multiple Emails)
Time needed: 1 minute.
To mark an email as unread in the Gmail apps for iOS and for Android:
- Open or select the message you want to mark unread.
Mark multiple emails: You can mark more than one message unread at the time. Tap the icon in front of an email or tap and hold the message until it appears checked, then tap more emails to add them to the selection.
- Tap the “Mark unread” button in the Gmail app toolbar.
Unread means back: If you mark a message unread as you are reading it, Gmail will return to the message list with the message marked as new.
One More Step: If you have selected both read and unread messages, the button will first mark all messages as read; tap it again to mark all checked emails as unread.
Swipe to mark unread: You can also mark emails as unread in the Gmail app by swiping; see below.
Mark as Unread by Swiping (Particularly Fast)
To mark an email to appear new and unread by swiping:
- Set up marking as read or unread respectively as the action for swiping left or right; see below.
- Swipe over the message until the Mark unread button appears in full size.
- Let go of the message.
How to Set up Swiping to Mark as Unread
To define marking read or unread as the action for swiping in Gmail:
- Tap the Gmail hamburger menu button ().
- Select Settings from the menu that shows.
in Gmail for iOS: tap Mail swipe actions.
in Gmail for Android: Tap General settings, then Swipe actions.
- Tap Right swipe or Left swipe.
- Choose Mark as read/unread.
- Select < twice to return to the Settings page.
- Now tap X.
How to Mark as Read in the Gmail App
To mark multiple emails as read fast using the Gmail app for iPhone and Android:
- Tap the circle in front of the first message (or conversation) you want to mark as read.
- Now tap any additional message’s circles to add them to the selection.
- Tap the Mark as read button in the toolbar.
Moving, not tapping: Swiping to mark read also works with swiping to mark as read/unread set up. (See above.)
How to Mark Email as Unread in the Gmail App: FAQ
How can I mark all emails as read in the Gmail App?
Currently, you cannot mark all emails as read in the Gmail app, which lets you only select messages one by one through tapping.
You can mark in bulk using Gmail in a browser (such as Safari or Chrome), though.
To find all unread emails and mark them read, for example:
- Open Gmail (full version) in a mobile browser.
is:unreadover Search mail.
Search terms: You can use other search terms, of course, and find all emails from a certain sender, for example, or open a specific label or
in:anywherefor all mail.
- Tap the auto-complete entry.
- Now tap Select ().
- Choose Select all conversations that match this search.
- Now tap the Mark as read button ().
Unread: To mark unread, use the Mark as unread button ().
(How to mark email as unread in the Gmail app tested with Gmail for iOS 6.0; updated May 2023)