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How to fix the annoying new Gmail bug that’s driving people crazy

Gmail bug

UPDATE: Two years later there’s a new Gmail bug we’ve reported on here.

Keeping an email inbox in decent shape is a challenge, no matter which service you use. The minute I’ve cleared out all the pointless messages I’m never going to read, five to ten more have appeared to take their place, and I am sure many of you have the same problem. But making matters worse is a new bug that appears to be affecting the Gmail app on Android, making it even more difficult to empty out the Trash and Spam folders.

If you’ve ever used the Gmail app on an Android device before, you are probably familiar with the “Empty trash now” and “Empty spam now” buttons that appear at the top of the screen when you visit either of those folders. Over the past week or so, some users have reported that those buttons are no longer showing up.

This is a relatively minor annoyance, but it’s an annoyance nonetheless, and so you may be looking for a workaround until Google rolls out an official bug fix. Thankfully, there are several methods you can use to restore the buttons, and none of them take much effort or much longer than a few seconds to perform.

Here are all of the ways that Lifehacker says you can deal with the problem until Google issues a fix:

  1. Use your browser to access Gmail.com and delete all your trash and spam from there instead.
  2. Turn your device to landscape mode and then back to portrait mode.
  3. Open an email in Spam or Trash and then tap on the back button.
  4. Roll back to an earlier version of the app (which you can download from APKMirror) that isn’t affected by the bug and disable auto-updates by navigating to the app on the Google Play Store, tapping the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen, and unchecking the “Enable auto update” box.

The last solution is obviously a lot of work for a bug you might not have even noticed in the first place, but the good news is that, at least according to someone on the Google support forums, “the engineers are aware of the problem and are researching it for a fix.” So it shouldn’t be long before an update is available.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.