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You’ll Never Miss an E-Mail Again With Gmail’s Desktop Notification Feature

gmail notification on MacI live in Gmail. I sort of have to if I want to keep up with contacts, vet the latest Chrome OS commits, follow up on bug reports, and ensure that a beady eye is kept on the handy tips you folks send in every day. 

It’s a lot of information to digest. Helping me stay on top of it all is Gmail’s desktop notifications.

These handy pop-ups fly in on my desktop the second that a new message arrives in my inbox. In a quick glance I can see whether it requires immediate attention or whether it will keep until I have more time to attend to it.

In short: I couldn’t live without them.

Enabling Gmail Desktop Notifications

turn on gmail desktop alerts

The good news is that you don’t need to install any sort of fancy-pants desktop app, panel applet or browser add-on to get notified of new mail. Gmail has a built in option for it, all you have to do it turn it on!

  1. Open Gmail in Chrome and sign in
  2. Click the ‘cog’ icon in the upper-right to select‘Settings
  3. Under the “General” tab find the section titled ‘Desktop Notifications’
  4. Click the ‘..enable desktop notifications…’ text
  5. Select one of the three options listed
    • New Mail Notifications  - see alerts for all messages that land in your primary inbox
    • Important Mail Notifications - only see alerts for mail marked as ‘important’
    • Mail Notifications Off – don’t show any mail alerts

When you’re done scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the ‘Save Changes‘ button.

Now, whenever Gmail is open in Chrome, you’ll see notifications of new e-mails as per your settings. If using default Chrome notifications (e.g. on Chrome OS) then clicking on a notification will open it up in Gmail, while those you choose to ignore will disappear from the screen after a few seconds. 

  • eMcE

    Moment please.. What a sense has this?:
    “..Now, whenever Gmail is open in Chrome, you’ll see notifications of new e-mails as per your settings. Clicking on a notification will open it up in Gmail..”

    I don’t need any notifications when already my GMAIL is OPEN in Chrome. I SEE my NEW e-mails.
    I do need notifications in tray, yeap, but without opening chrome+gmail first.

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      The logic in this is, rather obviously I thought, that while you may have Gmail open you DON’T have to stare at it or keep switching back to it. You can carry on with you eBay’ing, or Facebook’ing; working in Google Docs or hanging out on Google+, etc.

      In those instances seeing a quick notification on your desktop will keep you up-to-date with your inbox without having to switch back to it manually every x minutes.

      • Phil Oakley

        Wonder if Google could bake in notification support for Gmail in Chrome even if Gmail isn’t open…hmm.

        • kristo

          Now thát would be something indeed.

          • Phil Oakley

            They could do it through an extension, for all the Google services. Get a Google+ notification? Cool. Or Gmail, or whatever.

        • Ben Landvatter

          Download the Chime extension, you’ll be glad you did.

        • http://kennydude.me/ Joe Simpson

          Safari can do this

      • Phil Oakley

        Wonder if Google could bake in notification support for Gmail in Chrome even if Gmail isn’t open…hmm.

      • eMcE

        Maybe, but I don’t keep my gmail always open in some tab. For me far better is something like CheckGmail or Gmail Notifier

  • kristo

    Thing is I had this enabled on my C3 Chromebook but apparently you first must click the blue link above the settings ‘Click here to enable desktop notifications for Gmail’ which also shows in the thumb in this article. BTW is it me or are sound notifications still not enabled on Chromebooks?

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Not, they’re not. There’s a flag to enable them in the latest dev builds, but it doesn’t actually do anything.

  • Ben Landvatter

    I prefer to get notifications without having Gmail open in a tab/app window. I have the Samsung and the less I run at once the better. NO WORRIES! Download the Chime extension and get SO much more than Gmail notifications. I get Reddit replies, Gmail notifications and more with it. Definitely check it out folks!

  • Larry Martin

    I have a desktop notification for IOC the stock. I never set this up and I thought maybe it was generated when I searched for IOC (International Olympic Committee) during the Olympics. I removed that search from my history but it still pops daily in my desktop notifications. Anyone have any ideas?