Gmail adds powerful Material You widget for sorting

As teased with the launch of Android 12 last month, Gmail is introducing a new Material You widget that is quite powerful.

Update 22-11: Gmail’s new Material You widget is now rolling out widely through Google Play. It will not appear on Android 11 and older. After updating to version 2021.10.31, you’ll also be prompted to allow Gmail to “make and manage phone calls.” By granting ‘Phone’ permissions, you ensure that your Meet sessions are not interrupted by mobile calls.


Original 11/16: With the stuff you’ll be redesigning in mid-September, Gmail has only modernized the existing widget with a dash of Dynamic Color. It remained a simple list with a compose button in the lower right corner.

Version 2021.10.31 of Gmail switches to a design similar to Google Keep – hopefully Calendar will be next – with a large header indicating the name of the selected folder. The rounded square FAB appears in the top right corner with the narrowest layout showing a list of messages (sender, subject and time) with an archive button on the right. Gmail no longer displays the first line of an email.

An unread count is displayed next to the FAB as it can be difficult to distinguish between new emails and emails that have already been read. This is mainly because the background fully supports Dynamic Color and is no longer just white or dark gray.

Increasing the width (3rd screenshot) gives you a bottom bar with shortcuts that open Gmail directly to the Chat, Spaces, or Meet tabs. Meanwhile, reducing the height (4th) switches to a right sidebar layout.

This is quite a powerful widget that allows users to sort their inboxes and jump straight to the app from their home screen. It is essentially a thumbnail application and an alternative to removing/archiving from the notification shade.

Gmail 2021.10.31.x is now rolling out via the Play Store.

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