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A better way to select messages in Gmail for Android

Selecting multiple messages in Gmail for Android is a bit of a chore. There's an easier way, but you have to enable a setting first.

The latest update to the Gmail app (4.2.1) for Android has provided some welcome new features, like pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete. But another useful feature you might not be aware of is hiding check boxes.

To select multiple e-mail messages in Gmail for Android, you have to tap the tiny check boxes to the left of each message. If you miss the check box and tap the message instead, the message launches and you have to go back to the conversation list and try again. Luckily, there's a Gmail setting that will remove the check boxes entirely, and allow you to perform a long-press to enable selection mode. Once in selection mode, you can tap on the entire message listing to select it, rather than a tiny check box.

Gmail for Android message selection
Select multiple messages using check boxes (left) or the better, long-press method (right). Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

To enable long-press selections, go to Settings > General settings > Hide checkboxes.

Disable check boxes in Gmail for Android
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. Now you can select multiple messages in Gmail for Android without the frustration of having to tap check boxes.

Editors' note: This post was updated December 31, 2012. The "hide check boxes" setting was actually available prior to the 4.2.1 update.