Gmail is probably the most popular email service available today. Most users use the mobile app for managing emails on their smartphone, especially on Android devices.
But now with everyone working from home, having a desktop program that notifies you when a new mail arrives, can be very useful. While it is possible to use dedicated programs such as Thunderbird or Outlook, some users prefer something simpler.
Inbox Notifier is an open source program that does that. The software's installer includes an option to start the program automatically with Windows.
How does it work?
Inbox Notifier does not read your emails or password. When you run the program for the first time, it opens a tab in your browser to request you to authorize it with your Gmail account via OAuth. The only permission it requires, allows the program to view your inbox, but does not delete your mail.
Inbox Notifier uses Gmail's API to obtain unread threads, spams, mails, drafts, labels from your account. The program uses CloudFlare's DNS for internet connectivity.
By default, the program is meant to "enforce the user" to check their spam folder. In fact, it will not begin synchronizing your inbox until you have no remaining unread messages in the spam folder. This can quickly become annoying considering that junk mails can arrive at any time, which in turn blocks the inbox from syncing, and that kind of defeats the purpose of the program.
The good news is that you can disable the "Spam" folder rule in a couple of clicks. Right-click on Inbox Notifier's tray icon, select Open and navigate to the "Notification" tab and uncheck the "Junk message (SPAM)" option and hit the OK button.
Or, if you don't mind the "spam folder" prioritization, right-click on the Inbox Notifier tray icon and select mark as read to "mark all spam mails as read". This will force the program to sync your inbox folder.
Inbox Notifier displays a badge (double envelope icon) to indicate when a new mail has arrived in your Gmail inbox. It also displays a notification in the action center that contains the sender's name and the subject of the mail.
Note: If you have more than 1 unread mail, the program won't display the message's contents. Instead, it shows a banner that mentions the number of unread messages in your inbox.
Not interested in the new mail? Use the tray menu's Mark Read option to remove it from the notification, this also syncs the mail as "read" to your Gmail folder.
Double-click on the Inbox Notifier tray icon to load the new mail in your browser. Right-click on the tray icon and click on "New Message" to open Gmail with the compose window in focus.
Don't want to receive notifications for a short time? Enable the Do not disturb option 30 minutes, 1 or 2 or 5 hours, or indefinitely. You can still use the tray menu's "Synchronize" option to manually sync the program with the server.
Click on the tray menu > Open, to load Inbox Notifier's settings. You may set the program to auto start with Windows from the General tab.
The Account tab lists the number of drafts, labels in your Gmail account, and also displays your email address. You can revoke access to Gmail by using the Sign Out option. I couldn't find a way to add multiple accounts in the application.
The next tab, Notification, allows you to toggle sound notifications, set the refresh interval, and the notification banner's click-behavior (Open, do nothing, open in simplified version, mark as read).
As I mentioned earlier, Inbox Notifier only displays the message sender's name and the subject. The Privacy tab has toggles to hide the content, or display the entire message.
The program can be configured to synchronize automatically at time and day of your choice, from the Schedule tab.
Bug: If you have 2 or more unread mails, and you read the latest one or archive/delete it but leave the other mails unread, Inbox Notifier will not recognize the change. It displays the notification banner for the most recent mail (the one you read), until you click on its notification and view the thread. Once you do that, the program will display the banner for the other unread mail correctly.
If you already use an email client, Inbox Notifier won't be of use to you. The only fault I can find is that it is limited to Gmail. If you need a universal program, check out Email Tray.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.