Well, it’s finally happened: The new Gmail interface is here. I know; change is hard. But hey, guess what? You actually don’t have to switch to the new Gmail if you don’t want to. In fact, learning how to switch back to the old Gmail is as easy one, two, three — and I mean that literally: All you have to do to keep your Gmail layout the way it’s been for the past few eons is find the right icon, click it, and make a simple selection. See? One, two, three. Nice and uncomplicated. Everyone wins.
If it seems like we’ve been hearing about the 2018 Gmail update forever, that’s… well, maybe not entirely accurate, but an understandable feeling to have. Google first confirmed that the email platform would be receiving a major update — its first in nearly a decade — way back in April. That was over three months ago, and as everyone knows, three months in internet time is an eternity. What’s more, the update ultimately ended up rolling out incredibly slowly. Google did launch an Early Adopter Program at the end of April, although it was largely limited to G Suite and business users; what's more, it didn’t become widely available to G Suite users until the end of July. Some personal Gmail users did gain the ability to try out the new Gmail look between April and July, but those who received that option were few and far between.
Now, though, more and more Gmail users — both personal and G Suite alike — are finding themselves switched over to the new interface. You may have, for example, logged on to check your email this morning and seen this screen:
Followed by this one:
After which you may have found yourself brought to an entirely new Gmail layout.
(That is exactly what happened to me today. You, too? Hi. Let’s commiserate together.)
Not everyone is digging the new layout. And, I mean, that’s fair; the new look is A Lot. The good news, though, is that switching back to the old Gmail is actually incredibly easy. See that little gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen?
Yeah. That one. Clicking that icon will open the Settings menu, so go ahead and do that. Once you’ve opened Settings, you should see this dropdown menu:
From here, all you have to do is select the top option — “Go back to classic Gmail” — and voila: The old interface will automatically load up. Problem solved.
The bad news, though, is that this solution might only be temporary. My sense is that eventually, we’ll all be forced to use the new version, whether we want to or not. According to the official G Suite blog, one option that businesses who use G Suite had at the end of July was to set its users to access the new Gmail after Aug. 21; this gave them four weeks on the “legacy Gmail experience” before popups would start prompted them to give the new Gmail a try. However, the blog post also noted, “If they don’t choose to opt in by Sept. 18, 2018, we’ll automatically migrate them to the new experience starting on that date.” Opting out of the new Gmail would continue to be an option until Oct. 16, 2018 — but, read the post, “Soon after that date, they’ll be automatically transitioned to the new Gmail and lose the ability to opt out.”
That same Oct. 16 cutoff date was mentioned in all of the other options available for G Suite businesses, too — which sounds awfully like the “legacy Gmail experience” will no longer be available to G Suite users after the middle of October. If that’s true for G Suite, then it’s only a matter of time before the old Gmail won’t be an option for personal users anymore, either.
But I’m comforted by the fact that we’ve gotten through major technological upheaval before, even if we kicked and screamed the entire way. Because I am an Old, I can still remember a time when Facebook didn’t have a newsfeed — which means I can also remember the day said newsfeed actually arrived to Facebook. It, uh… did not go well. There was a huge uproar: The screen is too busy! The feature is too invasive! No one needs to know what everyone else is ding every second of the day! Why is this happening??? Everything was FINE just the way it was!!!
It’s now more than a decade later, and… well, the newsfeed definitely has its problems (wow, does it have problems), but it’s still here; we’ve all more or less gotten used to it; and, indeed, many of its users probably haven’t been on the platform long enough to remember what it was like prior to the addition of the newsfeed. We’ll probably all adjust to the new Gmail eventually, is what I’m saying.
In the meantime, though, if you’d like to join the ranks of the Old Gmail Guard, just follow those directions: Click the gear icon, select “Go back to classic Gmail,” keep calm, and carry on. Done and done.