There are 1.5 billion (with a b!) active Gmail users, which Google clearly sees as an asset they can take advantage of. You may have noticed: Google keeps filling the interface with buttons for other services.
The left sidebar of the desktop and the bottom sidebar of the mobile now have large buttons for Chat, Space and Meet, three services that Google would very much like you to start using.
A thick sidebar with four buttons takes up a lot of space, apparently just to remind Gmail users that Google offers video conferencing and chat services. Even worse is it on the mobile version, where the chonkbar constantly lives at the bottom of the screen. It’s very messy, I’m tired of seeing it and I do not think I’m alone.
You could take this as an option to replace Gmail with an email provider that is first in privacy, but I understand that not everyone wants to change email address. With that in mind, here’s how to keep your Gmail address without having to look at the chonky Gmail user interface – or, if you prefer, how to hide the chonkbar so you can get back to enjoying Gmail.
Try an email client
It’s okay if you forgot email clients – we all did. However, it’s time to remember because they show you your emails and otherwise keep you out of the way. Here are a few I like:
- On Apple devices, the default Mail app is clean, fast, and even blocks email tracking by default.
- On Windows, there is the default Mail app, which is very clean and stays out of the way.
- Outlook is really good now and it is included if you are already paying for Microsoft Office. In particular, the mobile version is much cleaner than Gmail in many ways, and it’s also a pretty nice calendar app.
- Thunderbird is still a very good open source email client for all desktop operating systems.
- Canaries is a clean, fast, secure email client for Windows, Android and Apple devices. You can optionally use the standard Gmail keyboard shortcuts, which is a big deal if you are a long-time Gmail superuser.
All of these applications make it easy to add a Gmail account after installation, so you can try a few and see what you like best. And everything will sync between these clients and Gmail, so you can use both at once for a while if that helps.