In ideal conditions, Gmail is incredibly fast. But occasionally, some people find Gmail slow. Too slow for them to work at maximum productivity, at least. It takes longer than usual for your inbox to load, or sending a message seems to take much longer than it ever did before.
This can happen for several reasons, but fortunately, there are some easy fixes that can remedy your problem. In this article, we’ll cover 15 quick and easy ways on how to make Gmail faster.
How to Make Gmail Faster
So how do you make Gmail faster? First, understand that there’s a certain upper limit to Gmail’s speed. If everything’s working as intended, there’s no supercharge you can use to overclock the app. Fortunately, Gmail’s default speed is almost instantaneous, so you won’t need to exceed it anyway.
But if Gmail is running slower than usual, you can try one of these remedies to make it fast again:
1. Check your internet speed.
It’s entirely possible that Gmail is misbehaving on its own, but the likelier culprit is your internet connection speed. If your internet is suffering from slowdown, it’s going to affect every app or website you try to access—including Gmail. This is an easy factor to rule out, so run a speed test and see if you’re getting the download speed and ping you’re used to; if not, it’s a sign something is interfering with your overall internet connection. Reset your router and make sure the people you share the connection with are using their connections responsibly. If that doesn’t fix things, contact your internet provider.
2. Use a wired connection.
Gmail is a relatively small and limited-scope app, but it still may benefit you to use a wired connection. If you’re like the majority of the population, you’ve gotten used to using Wi-Fi for everything. And for the most part, it makes sense—it’s certainly more convenient. But a wired connection will give you a faster, more stable connection to the internet, which can make Gmail faster.
3. Keep your browser clean.
Your browser stores a ton of data, which is ultimately a good thing for your browsing experience, but over time, these data can bog down your performance. At least periodically, take the time to clear your browser’s cache and cookies. This is a simple step you can take by accessing the Settings or Options menu of your browser; in Google Chrome, this is found under the More menu (vertical ellipses). From there, click More tools, then Clear browsing data.
4. Make sure your device is free of malware.
If your internet seems to be working the way it’s supposed to, but you’re still struggling with a Gmail slowdown, there’s a chance your computer could be infected with malware. If you use antivirus software, run a quick scan to make sure your computer’s not infected. If you don’t use antivirus software, now’s the perfect time to download it.
5. Disable Advanced Settings.
In Gmail’s Advanced Settings, you’ll find a list of experimental features that haven’t been committed to Gmail in full yet; these used to be consolidated under the umbrella of “Google Labs,” so you could feel like a mad scientist when you turned these features on. There are many interesting and helpful options in this submenu, including the ability to create your own custom shortcuts and get an email preview pane so you can read emails faster. However, these features are essentially in beta, and they don’t always work the way you want them to; in some cases, they can be responsible for slowing Gmail down. Disable the features you use the least in Advanced Settings, or turn off Advanced Settings altogether.
6. Turn off Chat.
Do you use Gmail Chat on a regular basis? If not, you should know that Gmail still loads your contacts and Gmail Chat feature every time you open your inbox. As you might suspect, this has a small—but measurable—impact on loading speeds. Fortunately, you have the option to disable Chat altogether. Head to the Settings menu and click on the Chat tab. There, you’ll have the option to turn “Chat off.” You can turn it back on at any time by navigating back to this menu.
7. Reduce your message display quantity.
By default, Gmail is going to display 25 conversations, or line items, per page of your inbox. As you might have guessed, this is also the number of conversations Gmail must load when opening your inbox for the first time or when navigating to a new page. You can increase or decrease the number of messages displayed, however; if you decrease this number, you should be able to reduce the loading time for Gmail. In the Settings menu, under the General tab, you’ll have the option to change your “Maximum page size.” Take this down to 10 conversations per page, the minimum, if you want to make Gmail as fast as possible.
8. Remove any app integrations you’re using.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of tools, apps, extensions, and add-ons that are designed to integrate with Gmail. Some of them use data from Gmail to help you analyze your email habits. Some of them offer their own unique functionality as a pop-up window within Gmail. Others change how you use Gmail altogether. In any case, if you have a fondness for productivity tools and software integrations, you’ll likely accumulate dozens of these integrations over time. Unfortunately, each of these integrations and add-ons has the potential to slow Gmail down. There are two solid approaches you can take here. First, you can get rid of any apps and extensions that you aren’t actively using. You can do this by checking the Add-ons tab of the Settings menu, and by checking to see which apps are using Gmail data. You can also take an “elimination diet” style approach, removing every extension from your account, then slowly adding them back one at a time to see which, if any, are responsible for slowing down Gmail. Either way, you should get closer to making Gmail run as fast as you want it to.
9. Disable the browser compatibility checking process.
When loading, Gmail automatically makes a compatibility check with your browser. Basically, Google wants to make sure that Gmail can run the way it’s designed to run; if it can’t, it may default to loading in Basic HTML mode (more on that shortly). For now, let’s focus on this checking process; regardless of whether your browser is compatible or not, this check can add significant time to the loading time of your Gmail inbox. And since most browsers are compatible with the latest version of Gmail, you probably don’t need to run this check anyway. Use this link and/or update your bookmarks to include the URL extension “?nocheckbrowser” to load Gmail without performing this non-essential check.
10. Disable or eliminate some of your filters.
Filters are a useful way to automate some of your email flow, ultimately saving you hours over the course of weeks and months of work. However, each of these Gmail email filters takes resources to run, iteratively and cumulatively adding to the time it takes for Gmail to function. Head to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab in the Settings menu to see if you have any filters set up, and if you do, browse through them to see if there are any you no longer want or need. Disable the ones you can and see if there’s an improvement in your overall Gmail speed.
11. Remove any custom themes.
Purely an optional component of Gmail, custom themes let you apply a specific, unique design to your inbox. Depending on what you choose, this theme may be easier on your eyes, helping you function better, or it may just be an aesthetic preference. Whatever the case, loading your custom theme is going to add a bit of time to loading and other functions in your Gmail inbox. If you’re interested in making Gmail faster, get rid of your custom themes and stick with the default.
12. Delete some old messages.
If your Gmail seems sluggish, especially when sending or receiving messages, it could be that your messages are pushing up against your upper storage limit. Scroll down to the bottom of your inbox and you’ll see how much data you’re using in the bottom-left corner. Click “manage” there and you’ll see a breakdown of how you’re using that storage space. Your best option is to clear out messages that you don’t need anymore—especially messages that include a large attachment. Use the dropdown menu of the search bar in Gmail and you’ll be able to search for emails that have an attachment. For help, see our guide on how to delete Gmail emails in bulk.
13. Consider using Gmail Basic HTML.
If you’ve tried many of the steps above but you’re still having trouble with loading speeds, it may be in your best interest to load the Basic HTML version of Gmail, following the preceding link or clicking on “Basic HTML view” when prompted by Gmail. The Basic HTML version is basically a stripped-down version of regular Gmail, so you’re going to lose some features, including Chat, the built-in spell checker, keyboard shortcuts, custom “from” addresses, rich formatting, and adding or importing contacts. However, if you don’t need these features and you just want Gmail to work faster for you, Gmail Basic HTML may be ideal.
How to Use Gmail Faster
Okay, so now you know how to make Gmail faster. Your inbox loads up quickly, and you can send and receive messages in the blink of an eye. You can still increase your Gmail productivity further in a number of ways, speeding up your own use of Gmail:
14. Track your Gmail habits.
Even if you think you’re a master of productivity, there are probably several bad habits holding you back from real email efficiency. For example, you might spend too much time sending emails to one particular recipient, or you might be dealing with too many email threads. If you use a tool like EmailAnalytics, you’ll be able to see exactly how your email habits manifest, studying your email schedule, your most common patterns, and even your response times. By studying these metrics, you’ll quickly learn where you need to improve—though the actual improvement will depend on you.
15. Use keyboard shortcuts.
There are over 100 Gmail keyboard shortcuts you can use to simplify actions like opening a message to draft and applying formatting. You can even create your own custom shortcuts if you feel like making the effort. It will take some time to learn all those keyboard shortcuts and apply them consistently, but it’s worth the investment if you want to use Gmail faster.
Productivity is a rich and complex topic, even as it relates specifically to email, and learning how to make Gmail faster is going to be just one part of the equation. With the preceding tips, you should be able to get Gmail running faster—and start refining your everyday Gmail habits so you can bang out those emails faster than ever before.
If you’re ready to get serious about perfecting your email habits—and the email habits of your team while you’re at it—make sure to give EmailAnalytics a whirl. EmailAnalytics connects with Gmail to help you learn your busiest times and days, your email thread management habits, your top senders and recipients, and more. Sign up for a free trial and learn what it’s all about!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before exiting it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.