Here’s the sad truth: classic Gmail is dead, at least most of it is. Google rolled out an update during the second half of 2018 and since then, the simple act of switching from standard view to classic view is no longer possible.
Go Back to Classic Gmail Option Missing
All you had to do was:
- Open Gmail.
- Sign in to your account.
- Find the small gear near the top-right. Just above your list of emails.
- In the drop-down menu, there was a dedicated option: Go back to classic Gmail. Afterward, you could enjoy the simplicity of classic Gmail.
With the constant advancements in technology, singular devices are created with more than a single purpose. Take Windows XP, for example. This bare-bones version of Windows was absolutely beloved by many, even considered the best in some circles.
It had everything it needed; no fancy bells and whistles; no Cortana running in the background; and no other unnecessary programs bogging your system down.
It was a sad day for many when Microsoft announced in 2014, they were no longer supporting Windows XP.
The same can be said about classic Gmail. It was easy to use. Simple. Sleek. It wasn’t trying to impress you with flashy graphics; its singular purpose was to bring you an easy-to-use email service that everyone, and anyone, could get behind. And still do. You won’t find many individuals that don’t use Gmail.
However, there is one problem with older systems. It’s right there in the sentence: older. Older programs can only handle so much. It’s technology’s own form of entropy.
You can patch the operating system and update security all you want, but eventually, it won’t be enough. All is not lost, though. You can still find a shred of Gmail’s classic view if you know where to look.
1. Change Gmail Design
With today’s Gmail, the spacing between each email has grown to make room for additional information, like if an email has file attachments with it. Gmail’s current system, however, offers a few options to change the view of your emails.
- Go to Gmail and log into your account.
- Click Settings. This is the small gear just above your list of emails.
- Click Display density. This is in the drop-down menu. You’ll be given three options to choose from: Default, Comfortable and Compact. Clicking each option will alter the picture above, giving you a simplistic view of what the change will look like.
- Choose the Compact view. Compact is the most like classic Gmail.
2. Gmail Classic HTML View
If you aren’t into the bubbly text and all the bells and whistles modern Gmail comes with, or you just have a really slow connection, there is one more option for you to consider. You can still use this even if your connection is fast.
When you log into your Gmail account, depending on your connection speed, for a brief moment you’ll see a small link near the bottom right of the screen.
While the link advertises it as an option for slower connections, if you’re fast enough to click it, you can load Gmail into a more cut and dry version.
However, faster connections will make it harder to gain access to this version.
Once you’re in, you can even set Gmail to default to this version, rather than fighting your connection.
- Go to https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/h/.
- Click I’d like to use HTML Gmail.
- At the bottom, there are 2 options: Standard and basic HTML.
- Click Standard if you want to switch back.
- Select Basic HTML If you want a classic view.
Out of the two methods, Gmail’s basic HTML is, arguably, the closest you’ll get to Gmail’s classic view and its sweet simplicity.
3. Hide the Side Panel
The slim side panel you see on the right in Gmail wasn’t always there. That was added later in an update. The side panel provides quick access to add-ons, like a calendar.
It can be incredibly helpful if you’re looking to streamline a few frequently used add-ons, but classic Gmail didn’t use this and if you don’t, you can hide it.
- Find the small arrow in the bottom-right of Gmail. Hovering over it and you’ll see Hide side panel.
- Click Hide side panel.
your Gmail is now one step closer to looking like its classic form.
4. Shrink the Chat Box
Another trait of Gmail’s modern features is its chat box. Rather than sift through your emails looking for a specific email, the chat box is a dedicated space to send personal messages between one or more individuals.
When it was released, Gmail shrank the amount of folders you could see at one time to make room for this chat box, located below your folders.
But again, if you have no use for it, here’s what you can do:
- Below the box containing your folders, you’ll see the chat box. Between the two, where they meet, is a small grey line.
- Hover over the grey line to change your cursor. Your cursor changing means you can move this bar.
- Move it down to expand your folders. This will shrink the chat box.
- Move it up and you’ll shrink your folders. This will expand the chat box.
And there you have it. It isn’t quite as classic, but it’s almost as good as.