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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.

    • 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.

        • 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?

    • 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?

  • I think it would be cool if ChromeOS could show Gmail notifications even though you don’t have any Gmail tab opened.

  • SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. I’ve turned on notifications in Gmail, but they are NOT SHOWING UP. I’ve tried to get notifications in both Safari and Chrome. Looked at different articles with instructions. Nothing still. Can someone please help me with this?

  • Thomas McKintree

    Its not working. I had Gmail open and minimized and sent my self a qik note from my Yahoo and nothing happened. Its bad that the Notification doesn’t work on Windows 7, not counting the frustration of Win 7 not having Outlook Express like my XP did. It does not come with Office and the 2002 Works Suite is out dated for Winds 7. Bill Gates I sure hope those other countries you give BILLIONS to are enjoying from all the Microsoft “Updates” we have to buy to have a decent computer.!!

  • view2share

    Checker Plus for Gmail and Checker Plus for Calendar. It works – get it now from Google Store :)

  • I’ve always used Howard E-mail Notifier for Gmail and – great product from a great developer. And its FREE :)

  • Mike_Scarborough

    Too bad you can’t change the position of the notifications. People have been complaining about this for over a year, and Google can’t be bothered to explain why they made this change. FAIL!

  • James Netusil

    This doesn’t work for me. Windows 8, using Chrome. I’ve set Chrome to allow all notifications, but nothing. Any ideas?

  • Abhijith Soman

    This is only whenever chrome Tab is opened in the browser? what is the point?? I really need notification when I’m not opening my mail box ..

    • Zaynah Naheed

      Install ‘Checker Plus for Gmail’ from Chrome web store. Problem solved

      • GoodISnipr .

        Frig no, it’s not made by Google.

  • Guest

    Install ‘Checker Plus for Gmail’ from Chrome web store. Problem solved.

  • Marie D

    How do I turn off the blurp sound of the gmail notifier on Chrome? I want the popup, just not the sound.

  • Charles Clarke

    I just get the ‘blurp’ sound with no desktop notification even though both Gmail and Chat notifications are turned on! (W7 64 bit)

  • Mark Foley

    How do i get gmail notification on my taskbar

  • This isn’t working for windows 8.1. No solutions yet. I used g-talk. Now I’m in a big trouble without desktop notifications.

  • Juliana

    I’m on Mac OS 10.8.5. The notifications work, but whenever i click on them they open the message in a window *behind* all my other windows. Is there a way to make the message open to the front window so I can actually read it?

  • Sexygmcruiser

    How do I assign my own sound for email notifications on my computer, chrome browser.

  • 5rdx

    I have Windows 10 and this notification is never working in any way, though I have it turned on. How about you?

    • Dylan Eudy

      I use a VPN (Browsec VPN, which I highly recommend) that keeps Chrome running in the background, even if the main browser window isn’t open (such as when you hit the Close [X] button). Since it (Chrome) launches at startup as well, and since I’m logged in to the Gmail app on my phone, I rarely miss an e-mail. Please note that I am running Ubuntu 16.04.1 on my laptop and iOS 10.2.1 Beta 4 on my phone, but this solution should still work for you as well, regardless of OS. Just play around and set Chrome to start on your OS bootup (and allow a chrome app to run in the background; you should get a notification if the app asks to), then just close the main window until needed. Also, you’ll need to alter the push notifications on your phone once you log in to your email on it. As this varies from device to device, you’ll need to do some research regarding it.

      Hope this helps! Contact me via email at if you need anymore help. (It’s mostly for junk, but if you label it as “Gmail Help” or something, I’ll likely respond within a few hours or sooner; I also don’t mind giving it out via forums like this, as it’s spammed constantly anyway.)

      • 5rdx

        Thanks. It has started working. jzsj