Gmail's new interface is now the standard experience for all users, with no option to go back to the old design

Nov 9, 2022

Google has made the new Gmail interface the standard experience for all users. The Silicon Valley mogul revealed the redesigned UI at the start of 2022, before rolling it out to users in June.

Gmail's new interface is now the standard experience for all users

I have been using the new interface ever since, it's quite alright once you disable the sidebars, which I will explain in a bit. But before that, let's take a look at what the new design looks like.

New Gmail interface

Gmail has two sidebars on the left, one for switching between the 4 Google apps: Mail, Chat, Spaces and Meet. Click on an app to switch to it. The other side panel displays a menu when you mouse over an app, e.g. When you hover over the Gmail app, the sidebar lists the shortcuts to open the mail composer, Inbox, Sent, Drafts, etc.

Gmail new design sidebar

Google says that the sidebar, or the integrated view, as it calls it, will only be displayed for users who have Chat enabled. Speaking of which, Google pulled the plug on Hangouts last week, bringing an end to the popular instant messaging platform. Users are now being redirected to Google Chat, which more or less offers the same experience.

Back to Gmail's new design, you may pin the secondary sidebar by clicking on the hamburger menu button in the top left corner, or unpin it in the same way.  The real issue here is that not everyone uses Google Chat and Meet, so these options may not only be useless for some people, but also takes up a lot of space on the screen.

Gmail interface 2 sidebars

When Google rolled out the new Gmail interface in June, it didn't actually offer a way to disable the apps, despite stating that the options are customizable. Maybe the options weren't available because the changes were still being testing back then. Google eventually added the options to turn the apps off. Here's how you can do that.

How to disable Google Chat and Meet in Gmail in the web version

1. Click on the Settings icon (gear cog) in the top right corner of Gmail's interface.

How to disable Google Chat and Meet in Gmail in your web browser

2. Select the Customize button under the "Apps in Gmail" section.

3. A small panel pop-ups up, it lets you choose which apps to use.

4. Uncheck the options for Google Chat and/or Google Meet as required. The card shows you a preview of the sidebar's layout.

disable Google Chat and Meet in Gmail

5. Click the Done button, and then the reload button to refresh the page.

Google Chat and Meet should no longer appear in Gmail. That's not too bad, it almost looks similar to the old interface.

Tip: You can do the same on your mobile phone. Go to the Gmail app's Menu > Settings > Account Settings page. Tap the checkbox next to "Show the Chat and Spaces Tabs" to remove the shortcuts from the bottom of the app.

Users will not be able to go back to the old Gmail design

Google's announcement confirms that Gmail users will not have an option to revert to the old design, which is called the original view.

Gmail users will not have an option to revert to the old design

But don't be surprised if you can switch to the legacy UI. That's because the new design is still rolling out to users, the option to switch back to the old interface will disappear when the new design becomes the standard experience for all users.

Gmail new design

Here's what the old UI looked like.

Gmail original view old design

Have you tried the new Gmail interface?

Gmail's new interface is now the standard experience for all users
Article Name
Gmail's new interface is now the standard experience for all users
Gmail's new interface is now the standard experience for all users. Google has confirmed that users will not be able to go back to the old design.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. alma najera said on January 3, 2024 at 9:33 pm

    The new standard gmail environment is not an option for people who are blind or visually impaired. This is a disaster for this huge audience that GOOGLE doesn’t seem to take into consideration. This audience will have to learn an entire new way of working with their screen readers if, their screen-readers and shortcuts work. This may be great for sighted people but it is not for the visually disabled community. Although google may have sighted testers, testing their accessibility functionality, users who are blind or visually impaired should have been considered for testing as well. This change to GMAIL is going to be a HUGE headache for this audience. I’m so disappointed in Google. Yet again, big tech accommodating everyone other then people who legally should have web content accessibility. I’ve read the Google Accessibility Conformance Report. The fact that some tests were Not Applicable, doesn’t make it right for the changes to be made to this platform. GMAIL is used by disability community and more needs to be done to accommodate this audience. GOOGLE, please allow users with disabilities to continue to access the GMAIL environment as it is now prior to the standard view updates that will be made soon.

  2. Anon said on May 4, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    The left leaning google NUTS do not even implement BASIC de-facto standard UI behaviors for the end user. End users are not even allowed to change drag etc column widths to what they want in the gmail UI. Just wow what an oversight.

  3. Amy B said on November 30, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    Hi there Karen (and folks),
    I’m sorry you’re finding the gmail interface really hard. Im also really struggling with the new interface, so much as to feeling really anxious if I can continue my work on it or not (as our whole company uses Gmail!)
    I recently put in a complaint to Google about the new interface as it doesn’t help people who need accessibility and struggle with change. I help run a group for people with disabilities and neurodiversity in a VFX company and most of us really struggle with the new interface.
    I’ve been doing research and I managed to change the font to a different font type using Helperbird, an extension in chrome –
    I changed my font type to ‘Helvetica’ and it’s a lot easier on the eyes for me. Try it, the basic functions are free! You might find it helpful for you.
    I still hate the blue and find that hard as I had a white background before with pinky/red highlights and that was nice as it was ‘warm’.
    I can’t seem to find a background that works for me. Even uploading my own photo of pale pink or white creates an automatic horrid grey vignette round the outside.
    Will let you folks know if I get anywhere….

  4. karen said on November 24, 2022 at 11:57 am

    I hate the new typography !!!!!! , please I suffer from SEVERE astigmatism in both eyes .

    And I even with my glasses on, I can NOT read the letters sharply anymore .

    Come on Gmail. What is wrong with you :(

  5. Gabrio said on November 22, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Feedback guys, click the button with the question mark, i’m writing 2-5 every day now, it’s a shame, they should have a retro-theme and do all the updated ones they want so people can choose no?

    At least that, yes this new one super sucks. and all rounded man!

  6. Anonymous said on November 22, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Developers must be drunk when they make these nonsensical changes.

  7. Anonymous said on November 22, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    New Gmail chat layout flat-out sucks 100%

  8. Anonymous said on November 20, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Guess I’m leaving Gmail – nice that you think you can make us go to a design that we DON’T want!

  9. John Brooks said on November 19, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t use the apps and don’t want or need any of the bells and whistles. Just clean simple email.
    I recall when this first popped up on my gmail months ago. I hated it but I was relieved to see the original setting was available. I spent half this morning trying to find out how to revert back but now know that’s not possible.

    What’s the point of having any theme if the whole background image is blocked out by a big empty white box?

  10. Me said on November 19, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I really love seeing my theme, its one that changes during the day and night, but the update puts a transparent white or black image over most of the theme image.

    When will you learn google, people want options not fascism!

  11. Elizabeth said on November 18, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    They should at LEAST give us a way to minimize or resize that big damn ugly white box! :(

  12. Donna said on November 17, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    I hate the new GMail. I had a beautiful theme and now it hardly shows because of the entire white inbox. Please let us change back! That part at least!

  13. Tina Kuhn said on November 16, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    The new layout takes up more screen space for fluff and leaves less space for the substance. I’m working here..

  14. Anonymous said on November 16, 2022 at 4:34 am

    The loss of the little tabs that had all the recent chat and spaces conversations was a pretty big loss to me. It made responding faster, and I feel that it did a better job at notifying me of messages and conversations than the new layout does.

  15. Paul said on November 16, 2022 at 12:41 am

    Stupidest view ever. I don’t know why you would ruin it. You had a good thing going and have ruined it.

  16. EMusked said on November 10, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    The earlier layout was effective. To support their meaningless positions, they pursue change merely for the sake of change. Why are there so many rounded corners on all recent interfaces? I’ve had enough of it! It doesn’t have a good appearance. The sidebar has what other purpose? There is too much space being used. All those buttons can be arranged under the labels section. These web designers should all be laid off.

  17. Tony said on November 9, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    The new UI is fairly ugly, which is par for course for Google. Their Android Auto looks like it’s from the 90’s, and this looks 70’s.

    1. Rex said on November 15, 2022 at 10:25 am

      What GUI did you use in the 70s, and what car in the 90s had Android Auto?

  18. 1337 said on November 9, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    yeah, I used gmail for almost 15 years, then after their political censorship nonsense I dumped them and never looked back. Seems I did it just in time and avoided that terrible new UI. and remember… don’t be evil.

  19. John G. said on November 9, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    Useless email service ever. Yahoo Mail allows to send some attachment files still unsupported at Gmail. Yahoo is by far the best email service you can get today. Thanks for the article.

  20. Cor Invictus said on November 9, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    Why would anyone use this garbage, which scans every single one of your emails and reads the entire content?
    You should be advising everyone how to get rid of it and start using alternatives, not showing the “new” design.
    Are you people out of your freaking mind!

    1. Bart said on December 22, 2022 at 10:36 pm

      I want to restore the previous settings.

    2. ikomrad said on November 14, 2022 at 10:48 am

      This. I left the Google plantation ages ago. Not only for privacy reasons, but also because Google doesn’t follow industry standards.

    3. Tom Hawack said on November 9, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      Looks like @Cor remains convinced an article should deliberately denounce a company’s privacy intrusion and emphasize on alternatives whilst @Andy Prough “can’t think of any tech news outlets that talk about Google’s privacy issues more than Ghacks,”. This corroborates the fact that when you try to hold a medium position you often get hit by extremes.

      I’ve been reading Ghacks articles for over a decade (because time feeds one’s considerations) and I truly believe this middle position signs its articles. There are occasionally warnings as well as crushes but I can’t remember any hysterical, excessive, argument-free wordings when on the contrary demagogy is replaced by shared experience and detailed explanations. Of course one can always wonder why a journalist doesn’t dive into what me may consider as flagrant. First not everyone shares the same opinion, secondly even monsters deserve a lawyer and so do all products and services. Journalism is not a story teller nor a judge, basically. Of course there may be once in a while a human nature which will prevail on a 100% objectivity but, hey! who is 100% objective despite what millions of users of social sites believe… for themselves, of course.

      1. VioletMoon said on November 10, 2022 at 4:57 pm

        ” . . . because time feeds one’s considerations . . . ”

        Clarification? As I read the parenthetical element, it means to me, the amount of time one has devoted to a position that is debatable and meaningful to some extent, is somehow equated to the numerous considerations that may be researched and evaluated before and when writing an article; such time restraints may result in a fallacious, biased, or incoherent position.

        In other words, if one has little time to investigate a privacy policy [or any other policy], the journalistic conclusion, along with comments on an article, will be missing the main point or present a misguided conclusion because there wasn’t enough time for the writers, the journalist and commentors, to take into account all “considerations,” all angles of the subject.

        Example: Jerome Powell’s mistaken belief/consideration (“let’s follow the past”) that brutally jacking interest rates to the point of pushing the US into a major recession will quell the beast of inflation. Historically, Paul Volker may have “defeated” inflation, but his reasoning and “policy” resulted in a “permanent deficit” for the US that is now around 31 trillion dollars.

        Google Privacy Issues–to date, I have little reason to feel threatened by Google collecting or tampering with personal information. I’m quite fine with Gmail, the new interface, and the use of Gmail as a simplified assistant to everyday correspondence.

        I am more concerned with “where” I insert a Gmail address for access, or with whom I share a Gmail address.

        All good here.

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 10, 2022 at 10:16 pm

        Not sure if your comment is an answer or a monologue bouncing on mine to legitimate itself. “Time feeds considerations’ in the context to emphasize on the fact that experience brings some consistence to one’s appreciation of anything requiring time to satisfy a meaningful average. We were then referring to a website. Perhaps are you extrapolating by interpreting erroneously. You do know that the way we interpret is relevant of who we are.

        In the scope of journalism now as opposed to that of basic readers above mentioned, who’d deny that investigation is essential? Investigation is always required when searching for truth.

        In the scope now of politics as opposed to journalism I’d personally advocate perspectives, long-term visions, deep thinking aiming to cure the disease rather than the symptoms; unfortunately be it anywhere on Earth it seems that short-term reasoning is king, be it in finance and more dramatically in politics.

        Back to Google. If you’ve found a position you consider comfortable, that is a blend between acceptable privacy intrusion and easiness of a sheep’s yard, then indeed it’s all good.

    4. Andy Prough said on November 9, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      I can’t think of any tech news outlets that talk about Google’s privacy issues more than Ghacks, or that shows people how to use alternatives to Gmail and other privacy violating software more often than Ghacks.

      And at the same time, the Ghacks writers are respectful of the fact that hundreds of millions of people rely on these same privacy violating tools, and so tries to help them to get their work done. Many people are required to use privacy violating software at their company or at their school. Sometimes they would rather not use it, but the choice is between using privacy violating software or not having a job and not paying your rent or feeding your kids. Those people deserve to be supported in their predicament, even while the Ghacks writers and the Ghacks community educates them about alternatives.

      1. Cor Invictus said on November 9, 2022 at 8:35 pm

        “Many people are required to use privacy violating software at their company or at their school. Sometimes they would rather not use it, but the choice is between using privacy violating software or not having a job and not paying your rent or feeding your kids.”

        This is why the emphasis of every tech news article should always be more on the danger of using said service, then the technicalities. So that people would eventually start questioning, arguing, and insisting on change in their work environment. Nobody’s gonna do it for them. Nobody, who’s accidentally come across this article, would even know that there are also articles about the alternatives, if there isn’t some kind of hard-to-miss reminder accompanied with links.

        ‘Gmail has made such and such changes to their interface, blah, blah, blah… IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Google is a giant data leech, a privacy nightmare, and they hate freedom of speech! Here are links to alternatives and their respective reviews.’

        Like that, in EVERY Google related article!

      2. Andy Prough said on November 9, 2022 at 11:22 pm

        @Cor – >”This is why the emphasis of every tech news article should always be more on the danger of using said service, then the technicalities.”

        I disagree. From what I see the beauty of Ghacks is that people come here for the tips and tricks, and as they become regular users of the good advice and useful content they also get educated on the privacy (and security) problems and the alternatives.

        There are plenty of sites that harrangue about the abuses of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, et al. I know, I am a member of several of them. And they do not have large readerships. Ghacks, on the other hand, has popular appeal and the ability to share the same important message to a wider audience.

    5. Tom Hawack said on November 9, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      @Cor, I do agree on your first point, I don’t use any of Google’s services myself and especially not Gmail for the reasons you mention. But it’s obviously not in a journalist’s attributions to disqualify a product, no more than it is to promote it, independently of sharing his opinion based on his experience. We may often (try to) interpret what the author of an article has in mind, and that’s good because it means his article doesn’t bypass facts. But when a journalist writes like many of us think, that is often heavily subjectively, then he’s no longer above but among the crowd. To extend I think that if we all tried to think as if we were an honest journalist then we’d all think better. Besides philosophy journalism is an excellent way of thinking to narrow the gap with intellectual freedom :=)

      Not being a journalist I dare state my everlasting astonishment when it comes to the amazing success of a company’s products and services all interconnected to fine tune the very life of its users. There are several excellent alternatives, why follow a blind crowd?

  21. Yash said on November 9, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    It doesn’t matter if you use an email client. If you don’t want chat or meet use it on email client and don’t worry about any of these changes.

  22. allen said on November 9, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    It looks a lot different if you use a background image, which is almost completely hidden by the new UI. Sucks.

    1. Ashwin said on November 9, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Oh, does that happen even if you disable the other apps and collapse the sidebar?

      1. Anonymous said on November 17, 2022 at 10:34 pm

        Yes, I’m afraid so. That’s why I personally want to swap back.

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