Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Gmail is flooding inboxes with ads – here’s how to get rid of them

Published May 5th, 2023 7:22PM EDT
gmail icon
Image: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

If you’ve been noticing an influx of advertisements in your Gmail inbox lately, you are not alone. As noted by 9to5Google on Friday, Google appears to have kicked the Gmail ads operation into high gear in the past several days, with more ads than ever popping up on both the desktop and mobile versions of the free email service. Even worse, ads are starting to appear in parts of the app that were previously ad-free, but thankfully, there is a way to get rid of them.

How to get rid of Gmail ads

If you’re sick of seeing ads sprinkled throughout your inbox, here are the steps you need to take to make them stop appearing. Note that you will lose your categories (tabs like Social, Updates, Promotions, etc.) in the process, but it’s a relatively small price to pay:

  1. Head to Gmail in your browser and click Settings (cog wheel icon) in the top-right corner.
  2. Click See all settings at the top of the panel that appears.
  3. Go to Labels, then scroll down to Categories.
  4. Under Show in message list, click hide on Social, Updates, Forums, and Promotions.

This will eliminate the tabs in your inbox, some of which might have helped you separate the spam from the important messages. For now, Google only inserts ads when these categories are enabled, so if you turn them off, you deactivate ads as well.

When one Gmail user complained about the sudden increase in ads on Twitter, the official Gmail account responded: “That doesn’t sound good.”

Personally, I always hide all the categories the instant that I create a new Gmail account, so I’ve never had to deal with ads in and around my inbox. That said, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Google finds a way to sneak them into the main inbox as well, but in the meantime, I am going to appreciate my ad-free inbox for as long as I can keep it that way.

Update: 5/8/23 | A Google spokesperson sent us the following statement regarding Gmail ads after we published this article: “We are always experimenting with formats and working on ways to help people discover and connect with new businesses. The Promotions tab shows promotional emails from businesses that people subscribe to, as well as offers and deals from companies people might like. We rolled out instream ads in the Promotions tab last year across mobile and in the past month expanded to desktop as well.”

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

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.