How to disable new ‘Primary’, ‘Social’, and ‘Promotions’ tabs in Gmail [Guide]

Google has recently pushed out a new tabbed interface to Gmail users, with the intent of wanting to make it easier to organize inboxes (although some might allege Google’s secret intention was to show spam-like ads). If you are like me, the new tabbed interface is actually more confusing than helpful. As such, you probably want a way to be able to turn it off. If so then you are in the right place. This article shows you how to disable, turn off, and remove the new ‘Primary’, ‘Social’, and ‘Promotions’ tabs in Gmail.

HOW TO DISABLE, TURN OFF, AND REMOVE NEW ‘PRIMARY’, ‘SOCIAL’, and ‘PROMOTIONS’ TABS IN GMAIL

To disable, turn off, and remove the new ‘Primary’, ‘Social’, and ‘Promotions’ tabs in Gmail, do the following:

  • Go to http://gmail.com.
  • Login with your username and password, if you are not logged in already.
  • Once you are at your inbox, click on the gear icon near the top-right corner and then click on ‘Configure inbox’:

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  • Now you should see a ‘Select tabs to enable’ popup. In that popup, uncheck the boxes next to ‘Social’ and ‘Promotions’; take note you will not be able to uncheck the box next to ‘Primary’ and you don’t need to uncheck it to disable the tabs:

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  • Now hit ‘Save’:

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  • Done! There should no longer be any ‘Primary’, ‘Social’, and ‘Promotions’ tabs in your Gmail inbox.

Enjoy!

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  • this just moved all my socials to my primary

  • John Wilcox

    Dear Sir/madam,

    I generally like my googlemail email system with the separate tabs for personal, socil and promotions.

    However, recently I seem to be getting too many promotional unwanted messages seeping through into my personal tab.

    Is there any way to ensure that these unwanted emails don’t get through to my account?

    Regards,

    John Wilcox.

  • el ward

    Hello,

    I went to configure in box and both social and promotions are already unchecked, but I still get those awful bars in many articles that come into my email by invitation –

    If you can help, I’d be grateful Thank you EW

  • Richard Hinds

    I have these unchecked & I use Gmail but the crap still gets filtered in to folders.

  • Gayle Garrett

    Thank you this is SO stupid. I’ve missed so much mail because I’ve never thought to look there, yes I was probably a bit at fault also.
    Gayle

  • shantiq

    thanx as it is a stupid function

    could not see a new password as it was for a social site and therefore went into “social”

    ONE MAILBOX IS ENOUGH in three-dimensional life as it is in digital life

    what were they thinking????? ::]]]

  • Benj

    Thank you Sir

  • tuborgchef

    THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU !!! Those tabs were doing more damage than good !!! Never thought to look directly in the gear menu for that … always trying to find something about those tabs in the settings area ….

  • sinned

    This is the stupidest advice I have ever seen. All you are doing is transferring Social and Promotional emails to Primary. You do not eliminate anything. duh…

  • Tatyana

    Oh, it’s so useful and easy, thank you!

  • nageswara rao

    how to move emails from social to promotions

  • Sam

    thx Good one!!

  • chuck

    This has been done. Gmail still sends emails to the Socail, Promotions, Updates and Forums. They are unchecked and saved. How do I remove them completely so Gmail will not keep on sending my email to these tabs. I DO NOT WANT THESE TABS AND GMAIL IS FORCING ME TO USE THEM. EMAILS CONTINUE TO SHOW UP IN THESE TABS:

  • Melinda S Long

    I have unchecked the social and promotional tabs on my gmail, but now all messages: social, promotional and personal are showing on the list of messages to open. I only have the personal icon checked. Please help me.

  • andy

    [@stephen]
    Reposting to ensure you see this
    @stephen @jay On your tablet or phone, you have to view the gmail.com site in your browser in desktop view or desktop mode. In that view, you can then tap the gear, and inbox settings, and set them the way you want them. Once you do that, the options will appear in your mobile app’s settings.

  • andy

    @stephen @jay On your tablet or phone, you have to view the gmail.com site in your browser in desktop view or desktop mode. In that view, you can then tap the gear, and inbox settings, and set them the way you want them. Once you do that, the options will appear in your mobile app’s settings.

  • stephen

    I’m having the same problem as Jay. There are only two options when you try to use your mobile phone’s browser to configure the inbox: “Mobile Signature” and “Vacation Responder”. Please help, this is so frustrating.

  • GraywolfSurvival

    Nice! I always hated those tabs. I never really noticed when I had an email in the other ones. Much better now. Thanks.

  • Rodrigo

    Thanks!

    You are my personal Jesus Christ, I was almost deleting my gmail because of that.

  • Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.

    Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  • Rosie

    So very kind and helpful of you to post these instructions. Thank you. All done, I am so glad I only have one tab now.

  • Jay

    I do not have configure under the gear. Only two options, mobile signature and vacation responder. That’s it. So how do you turn off the social bullshit that constantly has update crap in it?

  • Jimbo

    Thanks! Bloody hate useless new shit.

  • Ashraf

    [@Sergey] Doing this disabled the tabs for me on Gmail.com and the Android app.

    [@J.L.] Ive tried that with my other gmail accts that i havent disabled via the web yet. unchecking the boxes in the gmail app doesnt work.

  • J.L.

    [@Sergey] It’s not that hard if you just look in the settings:
    Menu key > Settings > you@gmail.com > Inbox categories

  • Sergey

    This only seems to disable them on the web interface. These new inboxes still show up in the Android GMail App and half of my incoming mail is now hidden in there. Google seems to love screwing up User Interfaces.

  • J.L.

    [@Ian] It’ll do so automatically after you disable the tabs.

  • Ian

    nice, now how to move all those already under a category back to the inbox?

  • Andreas

    Thank you. Helped alot! The new gmail had become a bit too “smart” for my taste!

  • Jim-1

    I get way too much promotional stuff from “sale of the day” type sites. If I did not prune that stuff out, it would accumulate to become a problem, and having it routed to the promotional tab would be helpful. However, I always open and then delete those messages, so that is not a problem for me. Having to click the tabs to see the messages was a nuisance, so I quickly disabled that feature.

  • jayesstee

    Thanks Ashraf. Saved my sanity (what’s left of it, anyway).
    BTW, they wan’t to know why I’ve removed it. When I’ve cooled down, I’ll tell them!

  • bogdanic

    Thnx! I don’t like them either.

  • J.L.

    They should’ve gave use alias accounts, I never even noticed how my mail was partitioned, because I keep it personal (low updates).

  • hatman

    Thanks Ashraf. Thought I was not getting mail for a few days and then noticed the stupid tabs.

  • JT

    I guess we have a choice, either keep the tabs, and Google sends ads to our promotions tab, or do away with the tabs, and google puts the ad bar back in it’s place. I’m sticking with the ad bar for now. I’ll forget it’s there again eventually….

  • JT

    It was annoying the crap out of me, and I had been wanting to disable it, so your article gave me just the reason to go ahead and get rid of them. Thanks!!

  • Ashraf

    [@KMHamm] I agree that this would be a much more useful feature if we were allowed to create our own tabs with filters.

  • KMHamm

    I don’t have much of a problem with this – there’s a box on each tab to let me know how many new messages in each category I have, and that’s useful. What would have been nice is to be able to create a few tabs and save specific types of messages to them. It’s possible to do that to various folders, but tabs would have been more convenient for the stuff I use every day.