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Mastering Gmail notifications: A guide to staying on top of your inbox

Mastering Gmail notifications: A guide to staying on top of your inbox

min read

Gmail notifications are one of the best ways to stay on top of your inbox. It can be frustrating when you’ve logged off for the day to find out the next morning that an email needing a time-sensitive response came through the night before. Or maybe you’ve spent hours waiting for a client’s important reply, only to realize it’s been in your inbox the whole time. 

With your Gmail settings configured correctly, notifications keep you informed and on track throughout the day. If your notifications have stopped coming through or have never come through quite how you’d like them to, it’s typically a quick fix. Read on to learn how to solve this problem and receive timely Gmail notifications.

<a href="#gmail-notification-types" class="anchor-link">Types of Gmail notifications</a>

<a href="#notification-issues-causes" class="anchor-link">Four common causes of notification issues</a>

<a href="#configure-gmail-notifications" class="anchor-link">Configure your Gmail notifications</a>

  • <a href="#manage-notifications-computer" class="anchor-link">Manage notifications on your computer</a>
  • <a href="#manage-notifications-iphone" class="anchor-link">Manage notifications on an iPhone</a>
  • <a href="#manage-notifications-android" class="anchor-link">Manage notifications on an Android</a>

<a href="#troubleshoot-notification-issues" class="anchor-link">Troubleshoot potential issues</a>

<a href="#streak-email-tracking" class="anchor-link">Get notified when your emails arrive — and when they’re read</a>

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Types of Gmail notifications

Gmail offers a variety of notifications to keep you informed about your email and other activities. Here are some common Gmail notifications you may receive: 

  • New email notifications
  • Priority inbox notifications, if you’ve set up a Priority Inbox and receive an important email
  • Calendar notifications, which are reminders for upcoming Google Calendar events
  • Chat notifications, for when someone sends you a new chat message within Gmail

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What are four common causes of notification issues?

There are several reasons why your Gmail notifications may not be working, but here are four of the most common culprits.

1. Technical glitches

Unfortunately, technology isn’t always known for its reliability. Issues like an unstable internet connection or spotty cell service can delay Gmail notifications from coming through. You may also run into issues if you want notifications to appear on a phone, computer, or tablet that hasn’t had a recent software update. 

2. Incorrect Gmail settings

You may want notifications, but if notifications are turned off in your Gmail account, they’ll never come through. Plus, if your account sync is turned off, Gmail may be unable to fetch new emails and trigger notifications. 

3. App updates

Without the latest version of the Gmail app on your device, you may not receive notifications. Outdated apps may have bugs or compatibility issues. 

4. Incorrect device settings

Make sure your device, be it a phone, computer, or tablet, allows Gmail to send notifications by checking out your Settings app or your System Preferences. If you’ve turned battery optimization on, sometimes it restricts background processes and prevents people from receiving notifications. 

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How to configure your Gmail notifications

Knowing where to look to check your notifications can be half the battle. Often, the solution is as simple as toggling your settings to allow an alert. 

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Step-by-step: How to manage notifications on your computer

  1. Launch your preferred internet browser, and open Gmail.
  2. Sign in if you need to.
  3. Click the Settings button, a gear icon in the top right corner.
  4. Select See all settings.
A screenshot of the drop-down menu of the Gmail gear icon after clicking it.
  1. Scroll down, nearly to the bottom, until you see a section labeled Desktop notifications.
  2. Select New mail notifications on. You will now receive Gmail desktop notifications.
A screenshot of what is inside the "See all settings" menu, showing the "New mail notifications on" being selected in blue butoon
  1. Choose a sound or turn the sound notification off by selecting None.
A screenshot inside the mail settings showing options for sound notification

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Step-by-step: How to manage notifications on an iPhone

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your home screen or search for Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Notifications
  3. If you have the Gmail app, scroll down and tap on Gmail. Toggle on Allow Notifications so that it’s green. If you do not have the Gmail app, scroll down to Mail. Toggle on Allow Notifications
  4. Select how you want your notifications to appear in the Alerts section. You may select if they show on the lock screen, in the notification center, and as a banner. You can also choose a sound and whether a preview of the email should be shown with the notification or not. 

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Step-by-step: How to manage notifications on an Android

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your home screen. 
  2. Select Apps & notifications. Note: If you are using a Samsung Galaxy, select Notifications and then go to App notifications
  3. Under App info, select the Gmail app. 
  4. Toggle on All “Gmail” notifications.

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How to troubleshoot potential issues

If you’ve double-checked your notification settings and they’re on, but you’re still not getting Gmail notifications, what’s next?

There are a few actions you can take to troubleshoot the problem and start seeing your notifications pop up.

1. Restart your device

A GIF of a guy on a telephone with a label as someone belonging to the IT Department and asking the person on the other line if they tried turning it off and on again.

Is it cliché if it works?

Sometimes all it takes is turning your phone, computer, or tablet off for 20 seconds before you turn it back on. Powering your device off and then back on is highly conducive to making newly updated apps work as they should.

2. Check your sync settings

On an iPhone

  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. Select Menu, then Settings
  3. Select your email account. Tap Data usage
  4. Tap Sync settings.
  5. Adjust the slider to choose how many days you want to sync.

On an Android

  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. Select Menu, then Settings
  3. Select your email account. Tap Data usage
  4. Make sure that Sync Gmail is turned on. You should see a checkmark.
  5. Adjust Days of mail to sync.

3. Remove and re-add your Gmail account

Technical glitches, especially password changes, can sometimes prevent notifications from showing up. Removing and re-adding your Gmail app to your phone, computer, or tablet is another great way to give your new notification preferences a hard reset, as is temporarily deleting and then adding back your Gmail account to the Mail app. Regardless of how you access your Gmail inbox, one of these two ways should help you remove and then re-add your account.

If you have the Gmail app

  1. Open the Gmail app on your phone. 
  2. Tap your profile icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select Manage accounts on this device
  4. Select Remove from this device.
  5. Tap Remove to confirm your choice.  
  6. You’ll then re-add your Gmail by selecting Add another account.
  7. Follow the directions, and enter your password when asked.

If you do not have the Gmail app

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your home screen or search for Settings
  2. Scroll down and select Mail.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Select the Gmail account you want to remove and re-add. 
  5. At the bottom of the screen, select Delete Account.
  6. Tap Delete from my iPhone to confirm your choice. 
  7. You’ll then re-add your Gmail by selecting Add account.
  8. Follow the directions, and enter your password when asked.

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Get notified when your emails arrive — and when they’re read

If you want even more information about the status of your emails, we’re here to help. Streak offers free email tracking in Gmail so you’re notified the moment someone opens your email. It’s safe to say that Streak takes Gmail notifications to a whole new level.

And the best part? With Streak, you can see all of your tracked emails in an organized list based on when each recipient opened your last email. 

Want to be notified when your emails are read? Send your first tracked email in 30 seconds

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