Replying to emails can feel like a chore from a bygone age, but Gmail is about to make the experience a bit more modern on Android with a handy new feature.
A new texting-style reply box, which automatically appears below emails, is rolling out now to most Android phones, as spotted by AssembleDebug (via Android Police). The redesign is a lot easier than having to scroll down, choose your reply option and type your reply. Instead, you can dive straight into replying, just as if you're using WhatsApp.
While the current process of replying to emails isn't exactly a major hassle, it does add more friction and taps to the process. By contrast, Gmail's new 'Reply' box lets you quickly begin composing a reply, and replaces the old Reply, Reply All and Forward buttons.
You can still choose thos latter options using a drop-down menu in the new Reply box, and there's also an option to expand the box to make it full-screen for longer replies. But it's particularly handy for quick replies, and after giving it a quick spin we can confirm that it's a small but significant improvement.
This new UI will become the default in Gmail for Android, and should be rolling out for you soon with the latest version of the app (version 2024.01.28.604414422). If you want to return to the old format, though, you can do that by tapping the arrow to the right of the new 'Reply' box.
Email gets a modern makeover
Email has increasingly been feeling like a relic from the early internet era in recent years, so it's good to see design tweaks like this take it closer to the speedy experience we're now all used to on the likes of WhatsApp.
The potential downside, of course, is that it also makes it easier to fire off texting-style mistakes if you use the Gmail Android app for work. That's why Google gives you the option of reverting back to the previous style, and also lets you expand the Reply box for longer and more considered replies.
Another benefit of the redesign is that's is easier to see the email you're replying to. As you can see above, the reply box and keyboard sit below the original message, rather than opening up a separate window.
Only one Android user on the TechRadar team has received the Gmail redesign at the time of writing, so you may have to be patient, but the new feature should be available to all users soon.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.