Enable swipe-to-delete in Gmail 4.2 on Android

Gmail 4.2 for Android was released yesterday, bringing with it swipe-to-delete or archive. Here's how you adjust the settings.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

One feature Android users have been asking for in the Gmail app has been the ability to swipe and delete or archive a message. With the release of Gmail 4.2, that's now possible.

By default, the swipe gesture is set to archive or delete a message, depending on whether the message has already been archived. Should you want to change it to always delete (or disable the feature altogether), you'll need to dive into the settings.

  • To enable swipe-to-delete, make sure you have the latest version of Gmail running on your Android device.
  • After you've updated, you can swipe on a message to archive it. You'll see a prompt letting you know that the message was archived; it will also give you the option to undo the action. Swiping on the prompt will only clear the prompt; there is no other action to take. If you're viewing a message that's already been archived (in the All Mail label, for example), the gesture will delete the message instead.
  • With Gmail running on your device, tap on the menu button and select Settings > General Settings.
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • In the middle of the General Settings screen you'll see a "Swiping conversation list" option. Select it.
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • Here you can disable the gesture with the top option, Has no effect. Or you can change the gesture to always delete a message. Select your preferred behavior and back out to your inbox.

This feature is long-overdue addition to Android and the Gmail app. What's your preferred setting for the swipe gesture? Let us know in the comments below!

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