Mar 12 AT 9:10 PM Taylor Wimberly 84 Comments

7 Complaints About Android Gmail

Gmail is the most used feature on my Android phone.  For years I have wanted instant access to my email, but this is the first phone I have used that supports Gmail.  At first, I was put off by the interface because it was different from my desktop.  After I used it for a few months, it began to grow on me.  Now that I am comfortable with all the features offered, there are a few things missing I need to point out.

1.  No Multiple From Field.  I use my main Gmail account to manager several others.  I often receive emails from my other accounts that I wish to reply to, but I’m only offered the default email.  This is major annoying and I hope a high priority.

Limited Sync Options

Limited Sync Options

2. Select Multiple Emails.  In the web version of Gmail, you can select multiple emails at once to perform a single action on them.  For example, I sometimes mark a group of emails as read or move several emails to a folder at the same time.  This would not be hard to implement in Android and I want to see it.

3. Improved Home Screen.  I have a lot of custom filters and folders setup on my web Gmail.  When I login, I can instantly see what new emails are waiting for me in different folders and accounts.  On Android, I have to hit menu to browse lables and then drill down.  It would be nice to have an improved home screen that display more information.  A simple top row that display stats would be great.

4. Fix Sync Problems.  Often when I view my folders, it says I have “-1″ or “1″ unread emails when there is nothing new in the folder.  Emails sometimes get stuck in the draft folder.  Other times, emails will not send at all.  I have a lot of problems when I attempt to send an email to myself.  I’m also dissappointed with the sync options for each folder; its either 4 days or all.

5. Download Attachments.  Why can’t I download certain attachments?  If I can download the file on my pc, then I want to be able to download it on my Android.  I do not want any restrictions place on my downloads.

Gmail Labels

Gmail Labels

6. Attachments Preview.  Also related to attacments are document previews.  Most documents will not preview on Android.  If you attempt to preview certain docs, then Gmail will force close.  I would like to see the same functionality of the web client.

7. Label Options.  When you have a lot of email to keep track of, labels are very useful.  I tag most of my emails and I like that Android will allow you to select multiple tags.  We are still missing some options though such as the ability to create, rename, or remove a label.

What bugs annoy you most?  Are there any features you found lacking?  What fix is your top priority?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Adam

    Well this is sort of a complaint about Gmail and the Google browser. Try to click any email link which contains a subject line in it and Gmail will automatically change the email address to an address.

    For example, go to Craigslist and try to respond to a posting by clicking the [email protected] email and gmail will open up and have [email protected] as the address your email will go to.

    This is not an error, this is insanity. It has bothered me since day one and not a thing has been done to correct it.

    Other than that, I pretty much adore this phone and say nice sweet things to it every night before I got to bed because I am afraid it may decide to go live on its own if I am not nice to it. Its much smarter than me.

  • Sander

    Well, I think colored labels are very helpful.

    On your list point 1 is the most annoying for me as well.

  • Tim

    I switched from Gmail the app to the Gmail web interface because the app was stupid and klunky and sucked major bandwidth and was using 10M (!) of precious storage space. I find the web interface to be very slick & friendly on the Android browser.

  • Brad


    How could you NOT mention it’s terrible quoting of previous text when replying? It flat out DOESN’T work. Sending e-mails from my G1 to existing threads leaves a mountain of text below that Gmail doesn’t automatically condense down. The result is a giant e-mail.

    And on top of that, why can’t I reply to an e-mail and just remove the quoted text (Seeing as how Gmail can’t handle condensing it when sent from gmail on Android)?

    • Matt Wheeler

      This is my biggest complaint as well, I can’t reply to mailing lists, why not just let us edit the whole body text, surely that would have been -easier- to do?!

  • Nathaniel

    Absolute priority for me would be the ability to send attachments other than pictures. At the moment, the only way this can be done at all on Android (AFAICT) is to rename the file to end in .jpg and put it in the pictures folder – a bizarre hoop to jump through to get around an arbitrary restriction that I hope they remove soon.

    Another thing that annoys me slightly is that if my phone goes to sleep when I have a mail open then when a new email arrives there won’t be an icon in the status bar, and I quite often don’t notice I’ve had a new mail because of this.

    Apart from that I’m quite happy with it though, it’s a nice interface to use.

    • http://Website Some guy

      You can get a free app called AttachEmail, which will allow attaching any file on your SD card to an email going out of Gmail, check it out on the Android Market. It works, but I would agree it makes sense for Gmail to do this directly without using extra software.
      If you think Gmail app is bad, just try the plain email app on the Android, it is so woefully inadequate it’s laughable. I understand Google WANTS everyone on Gmail, but not everyone wants to only be on Gmail.

      • Matt

        Thanks, guy. Checking it out now. “Michael, Thu, Apr 15, 2010: Can’t include a message with attachment.” Hmmm…

    • tawster

      You have probably long have had this answered. But… I was recently frustrated by the image/video only attachment thingy.

      I installed ES File Explorer an now select that in the menu that pops up during attaching a file. The advantage of ES File Explorer over other attachment fixing apps is that (a) you can use it for your general file system navigation, and (b) you can select multiple files for all operations, to include attaching them to an email.

      Good luck, all.

  • Jon

    i've had 3 messages "stuck" in my phone's Gmail outbox for months now. I was hoping RC33 would have fixed it… but no dice. Annoying!!

  • Taylor Wimberly

    AHHHHH I hate the stuck messages. I played around with my phone a lot today trying to get the stupid 1 to clear my outbox.

    I finally figured out how to change the number of days it syncs, but its 1 setting for all folders. I wish you could have different sync lvls for each folder.

  • NickieTheBear

    I like your 7 which I think you picked out of hundreds.

    How about this being my NUMBER ONE:

    Gmail on Andriod DOES NOT SHOW PICTURES within the EMAIL!

    how wrong is that? let that be your number one.

  • johannes

    Just wanted to say that i completely agree with your number 1. I have a stupidly named gmail account because all the good names were taken and i want to be able to send business emails as if they originated from my business email account. Which i can do from my laptop so why not from my g1? Whoever’s in charge: please make this your top priority.
    Thanx, j

  • Alex

    I gotta vote with #2. Sometimes I check this email from POP, and so it doesn’t get marked as read on gmail. I end up with all these “new” emails I can’t easily mark as read.

  • Bob Schubert

    My biggest android gmail complaint is not being able to physically delete emails and spam from my g1 , rather then having to log into the web gmail or from my pc and delete them again. And I agree need to be able to create labels.

  • Bob Schubert

    My biggest android gmail complaint is not being able to physically delete emails and spam from my g1 , rather then having to log into the web gmail or from my pc and delete them again. And I agree need to be able to create labels.

  • mohmmed ilyas

    i am mohmmed ilyas i am daily cheking my mail in gmail account before 8 days i not open my account i have important my mail so give any suggetion for open my gmail .my another account [email protected]

  • Dais

    My complaint is that I get ads related to the content of my email..and I am pretty irritated about Gmail. Yahoo is not like that. I am wondering whether they are scanning my email content…pretty annoying and scary.

  • PSp

    I’m trying out Android for the first time and haven’t been able to figure out a way to set up multiple accounts. I read online that a 3rd party app (E-Mail and maybe others) will allow this. Either way, I would add this as a complaint, and something for the future…

  • AOA

    How do you delete some stuck email from the Gmail outbox? No one seems to know what to do…

  • hydn

    Yup definitely # 5

  • john

    To open an attachment you need to have an app that can open it.

    If you get Astro, it will just tell Android it can open everything so you should be able to receive whatever you want.

  • ej

    how do you even change emails?

  • Vanessa

    I find it really irritating that I cant go from one message to the next (or previous) within the message? It’s annoying to have to go back to the inbox/current folder to see the prev/next message.

    The weird thing is their application for other emails has this… Do others not find this annoying or am I stupid and can’t find the arrows?

  • mcaslan

    I just started useing a Motorola Cliq and noticed that I am unable to forward emails to addresses if I have to insert an underscore _ as in [email protected]

    Inserting the underscore appends the suffix @, then the [email protected]

    The result is…
    , ,

    The workaround is to add the email address into the contact list, what gives, no underscores?

  • Maddie

    My Droid only has the inbox, no outbox/folders and does not sync e-mails sent from the phone. The web interface is great, is the gmail app the same for everyone or did it configure incorrectly?

    • http://Website Marc

      When in your inbox, hit menu then view labels.

  • thebosco

    If you change your contacts in web version and it have a camera photo include, it will be lost the next time you sync.

    It Suck!

  • Kyle

    Not being able to easily switch primary gmail account

  • walter harley

    Embedded JPEG pictures are just blank spaces. On the email and no way to open them …I use a gmail account on my new Droid with verison
    . Many other type attachments act the same way. No such problems on my PC. This makes the Droid worthless. For email

  • Eitan

    It bugs me that there is no unread message count besides inside the app itself. You can make shortcuts to each label, which is nice, but i wish it would show the amount of unread emails over the label shortcut. or the Gmail shortcut itself.

  • rogerthat

    Agree not seeing pictures in gmail sucks

  • http://Website Austin Beam

    While all of these complaints have merit, I would have to say that the discard button’s prominence in the compose dialog is the single most frustrating thing about the Gmail app. I have “Discarded” far too many emails because I stopped in the middle of composing the email to do something else and accidentally hit discard. Why isn’t there some confirmation? More importantly why the heck is it there in the first place. It’s there even on the mobile web UI, but it’s smaller and at least they offer confirmation. Plus you can hit back and get right back to your email in the mobile web UI, but the app just destroys it instantly. Just plain stupid if you ask me.

  • http://Website Jason

    Is it just my Hero or the app can’t load my gmail contacts when i type the first couple of letters in the TO: field?

    Umm, does it expect me to memorize all my addresses?

  • http://Website Shala

    I absolutly hate having to exit emails to read the previous/next one… unless there’s something I don’t know?!

    • http://readingmail doctor_don

      Froyo changed the way / options for progressing through e-mail.

      Archive – Delete – are at the bottom.
      Star – Reply – Reply All – Forward at the top of the e-mail.

  • http://Website Moogly

    How about the fact that you can’t log out of gmail once you log in, aka you can’t hit log out and log in from another account. At least not on my phone…

  • http://Website jonny

    He is Hacking Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will.
    Reynhardt van Blommenstein – Great Brakriver – Garden Route
    South Africa

    Email: [email protected]

    Contact Number: Fax: +27 44 696 6364 Tel: +27 82 798 6268

    This author made many complaints with no response.

  • http://Website Steve

    I don’t see why it would be so hard to port the mobile interface directly, add a few more features, and use that. The mobile interface has its own quirks, but you can log out, log back in, etc. It’s also nicer looking than the native app.

  • http://Website Tony

    My biggest gripe: when forwarding or replying, I can’t edit the existing text. C’mon, guys, even WinMo 6.1 gets this right.

    One other thing which would be nice. In most SMS apps, you can define quick text blurbs, such as “on my way” which can be included in your SMS. I think that should be a mobile thing, not just an SMS thing. I’d like to be able to define such blurbs in GMail, as well, with a menu option which lets you quickly select one for inclusion in your message. Alternately, if they could have one, central list of quick text blurbs, and have both the SMS and GMail apps use that, that would be preferable.

  • http://Website Jurgen

    I noticed, when I restart my Xperia X10, gmail is automatically starts up, and i get mail notifications(using up battery life) .
    So i can’t shut down my gmail…How bout that. Sure I can log out, but then you have the hassle of entering mail and passwords again.
    I get a lot of mails, and there are moments when i do not want to hear them coming in.
    What kind of application does not have a ‘close’ button’..?
    If this were Windows, we’d all be laughing at them, but we tend to close our eyes because it’s Google and it’s free…

    • http://Website Angelos

      A few months later I can see that most of our complaints are already fixed.
      I agree with you, GMail either syncs all messages in real time (which takes a lot of battery and is data consuming) or nothing (manual). I want to be able to set intervals in sync.
      I am using HTC mail app but I would really like to use Google’s app instead.

  • http://Website don

    U cant send emails to groups either!

  • http://Website neonix

    Downloading attachment is extremely important. My top priority. I cannot understand why it isn’t implemented properly; it’s such a simple feature.

    I too would like to be able to select my multiple accounts in the from field, and have full label support with create/remove/rename and colors.

    Lastly, I’d also really like to see the Gmail app support some Lab plugins, such as the multi-colored stars. I use it to mark the priority of emails, but Gmail on Android only shows stars as the default yellow.

  • http://Website simon

    What bugs me is that it only takes 1 push of the ‘send’ to send the email and on my x10 that button is nanometres away from the predictive text box. I need to type in Japanese and countless times I’ve accidentally sent a half-finished email because I’ve missed the key.

    And I’d love to be able to delete the quoted text when replying. I hope google works on this

  • http://HackingGoogleG-mail jonny

    He is Hacking Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will.

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein — Great Brakriver — Garden Route
    South Africa

    Email: [email protected]

    Contact Number: Fax: +27 44 696 636

  • http://Website Reynhardt van Blommenstein

    He is Hacking Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will.
    Reynhardt van Blommenstein – - Great Brakriver – Garden Route
    South Africa

    Email: [email protected]

    Contact Number: Fax: +27 44 696 6364 Tel: +27 82 798 6268

    This author made many complaints with no response.

  • http://Website Reynhardt van Blommenstein

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein

    Hacking Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will.

    He is Hacking Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will.

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein – Great Brakriver – Garden Route South Africa

    Email: [email protected]

    Contact Number: Fax: +27 44 696 6364 Tel: +27 82 798 6268

    This author made many complaints with no response.

  • Gideon

    in order of importance

    canned reponses is missing

    choose “from” which email you send a reply-choose to autoreply with email that you received the email with

    different html signatures for different accounts

    and all of the above

  • http://Website Jennifer

    Hate the location of the SEND button related to text box…agreed…and REALLY hate the location and existence of the stupid ARCHIVE button. I’m constantly archiving conversations and not knowing it, or having to go search for them. AHHHHHH!!!!!

  • http://Website BoogieNYC

    Just got a Droid X with both Biz (Google) and personal (GMail) mail. The Gmail app is such crap.

    No read receipt request setting? Seriously?

    What other apps are compatible with Gmail on the Android? Any? If not, it will be a fun weekend before I take it back to Verizon for a refund.

  • http://google chilson

    I have no check boxes in my mail and have to delete one at a time. This stinks can anyone help me please

    • jbl1

      Open Gmail. Menu -> Settings-> check Batch Operations.

  • http://Website Matt Morrissette

    Definite #2. I get a lot of e-mails that I don’t care about most of the time but sometimes I want to look at them. I regularly delete all the e-mails with a given label however since I can’t select more than 1 e-mail, I can’t do this on the phone. Now I have to check each one and I can’t do “select all”.

  • http://Website Jim

    What happened to the delete key on Gmail on my EVO after the Froyo upgrade? I hit delete and it goes to trash, but I do not see a way to empty trash I now have to go to my PC to completely eliminate an email. Whasup???

  • http://Website Patrick Rice

    Here’s one that’s pathetic, that even the 2.2 FroYo update didn’t fix it, nor does incremental build update of Gmail for Android, 2.2.1

    It’s absolutely PATHETIC:

    Lots of my Emails are indeed auto-messages telling me there is an update to a post I made on a forum. Alas, after the first email, every subsequent message is truncated by Gmail for Android, so the link I need to click, to view the message is not showed.

    The PROBLEM of course here, being that there is a huge flaw or oversight in Gmail for Android, in that no OPTION to “Show Quoted Text” exists within the application. HIS is the issue!

    Gmail for Desktop/PC has this. But moreover, even Gmail Mobile for Andorid Devices (via the web) DOES have the “Show Quoted Text” option.

    It’s as if Google are WANTING us to forsake the proper Gmail Client on the device, and exclusively use the Web version.

    Like I say, utterly pathetic, after all this time.

    Gmail for Android makes 70% of my emails I receive, utterly useless and unusable!

  • Tony Ash

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein is Hacking a Google G-mail e-mail accounts at will – proven in COURT documents.

    He is employed by Millers Attorneys (George & Cape Town) — Western Cape to do so and getting paid for it — Lefevré Joubert — 083 447 1269 — +27 (0)44 874 1140 — van Blommenstein — Great Brakriver — Garden Route South Africa Millers Attorneys (George & Cape Town) — Western Cape – I have complained to Google, Millers Attorneys, Mweb, South African Police, Reynhardt van Blommenstein, Law Society of South Africa no joy.

    Reynhardt van Blommenstein – Great Brakriver – Garden Route South Africa.

    E-mail: [email protected]

    Contact Number: Fax: +27 44 696 6364 Tel: +27 82 798 6268

    This author made many complaints to Google with no response.

  • http://Website Tanner

    I would love it if the embedded labels worked just like on the web interface.

  • http://Website Claymaker

    Quoted text on replies is very annoying, especially on long email chains, but doesn’t quite top my list.

    Seems like the whole functionality of the Gmail App is a completely different user experience than the rest of the phone. My main two complaints about the app are…
    1. Inability to Copy text from received/sent emails
    2. Inability to pinch zoom (very annoying with heavy HTML emails)

    Froyo definitely added some long awaited functionality to it, but still fell short on some of the basics, in my opinion.

  • http://Website Brittany

    I have a question that I am hoping someone can answer…

    I have the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S Android phone…. Everytime I receive and email I am getting a notification through the gmail app and also the email app. Is there a way to only receive one notification?

  • http://Website John

    Man, what a bunch of whiny bitc**s! You are checking your email ON YOUR PHONE!!! Be stoked.

  • Hans

    #1 is definitely causing me some grief. Like you I have multiple FROM email addresses and can only send from one. This munches my use of certain cloud apps whereby I bcc them to keep myself organized. :(

  • Tali Luvhengo

    With Blackmoon AttachSave you can download any type of attachment i think. Well works for me. And i think point 2 & 4 have been fixed now i think.(Article is a bit old)

  • http://Website Raging Mad

    What happened. Everything was working fine. Couldn’t leave it alone, huh? Hate the new look Sticky top thingy. Ever since the “change” my Gmail is broken, worthless to me. I am forced to jump ship, maybe my EVO/Google phone as well. Not being able to preview, download, or send attachments with out jumpin’ through hoops with other software apps is ridiculous. A deal breaker. I am returning this Phone. The Gmail fail is why. Step up the Mobile Gmail with regular features. I mean spell checker, support all basic file type attachments, editing abilities within forwarded messages.

  • http://Website annoyed

    I cannot belive android doesn’t have a “mark all as read” option or just a “select all” so that I could potentially delete them and/or mark as read or unread. What crap… windows mobile, iphone, blackberry all have these options… this is unacceptable. This better get fixed soon. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

  • http://Website Kris

    Please tell me they fixed NR. 1! And if so can someone tell me where to find the app because I’m not finding it now… Without it I have to go back to my LG Renoir. And that sucks.

    • http://Website Kris

      Someone somewhere must know of a app that does this properly… Please?

      If the LG renoir can do it it’s not hard…

  • http://Website andrew seto

    Google when are you going to update the app so we can create lables???????????????????

    Why do I have to login to gmail on my pc to create a label????????????????

    Why do I have to tell u what to do instead of you just doing right in the first place???????????

  • Mark

    I don’t understand why there is no option to compose a message from the gmail app. It seems to only be a reader. Am I missing something?

    • Mark

      I figured it out. The settings button. i also picked up the gmail app update in the market.

  • http://Website Kai

    I find it annoying to check newest message first and click the hard button to get “menu” and “inbox”.
    I’d like to chek oldest first, of course.

  • http://Website me

    Ok so sometimes I get a long email and want to reply point by point within the text I am replying to.

    On gmail you could do this on a palm pre or even a treo but not on my samsung epic????


  • http://Website Dan

    When I’m reading emails, I can’t use ‘select all’ to select all the text, like I can when sending email or texts or from any other text entry mode in android. There is a ‘select text’ option, but when viewing emails longer than can fit on one screen, the screen does not scroll to allow me to select the full email.

    This can be a very essential feature when I want to send the content of a previous email in a completely different email. Currently the only solutions are to copy each full page separately, which involves tedious switching between the sent messages label and the drafts label, or to forward an old email and delete the extraneous info(this option removes the convenience of simply clicking on an email address, and having the email, subject, etc, automatically fill in). Both of these option are very tedious.

    On a cell phone, any feature that allows me to cut and paste rather than re-typing text is essential, so this is a much needed feature. Ideally they will both add the ‘select all’ option, and also enable automatic scrolling while selecting text.

  • http://Website Dan

    Another unrelated annoyance is that when I click somewhere in a long email I am writing, the message often immediately jumps to the top or bottom of the message, even though I clicked somewhere in the middle of the message, and once I scroll up, the cursor is already in the correct location.

    I’m not sure if this is a flaw with the gmail app or with android itself.

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  • Chuck

    You can rename, remove or edit labels in the Android Gmail app by going to the Gmail website and navigating to the Settings section then the Labels section.

  • JCB

    What I find is that there’s no way to get notifications working properly. I either get no notifications at all with “Make Priority Inbox your default inbox” turned off, or two notifications for one email when it’s turned on.

  • JCB

    Further repeated tests strongly suggest that the total randomness factor is the greatest one affecting whether or not I receive Gmail notifications on Android. Gmail – best email system. Android – best smartphone platform. Gmail for Android – most dysfunctional of the 78 apps on my phone.

  • Paul

    What is the difference between the Inbox and the Priority Inbox? Can I delete the Priority Inbox? There are too many labels in Gmail. It needs to be simplified. Mimick Blackberry and how it organizes email. Gmail sucks.

  • Paul

    How do I remove Priority Inbox, Starred, Important and Chats labels from my gmail on G2S?

  • zroutik

    Hi, I do find the following really annoying: the list of suggestions in the TO: and other fields. It is an alphabetically sorted list of addresses. And that’s horrible. It contains duplicates, no ‘frequently used’ and I have to write the address up to the domain name to get the correct one.
    Cheers, Z

  • Pobinr

    Infuriating that you can’t switch of notifications as far as I can see !

  • Ambi

    My number one complaint is the attachments on the Gmail Android 4 App.
    1. from the email, you can only attach a picture.
    2. if you have an attachment in the drafts folder, and try to edit it from the app, the attachment will be deleted. either in the middle of editing, or when it’s time to press send.

    I’ve sent an email from attaching a file directly from the file in the Polaris Office app. It said it was attached, even had the paperclip on the side, but once it sent it was deleted. What other email app client can I use?

  • Kim

    Was this tested before it went live?

    I THINK NOT!!!

    for me now on android its unusable

    i get lots of email, and no obvious way to dispose of then, so i need to enter and delete each individually.


    SHAME its been good knowing you!