Saturday, 30 January 2021

Gmail Web UI Versions

Why This Article?

You might be surprised to know that there are at least four different versions of the Gmail web UI - all appear when opening the standard URL https://mail.google.com but will appear under different circumstances.  The circumstances will mostly be controlled by browser User Agent strings (you can see your browser's UA string at https://www.whatismybrowser.com/detect/what-is-my-user-agent).

These different UIs have access to different feature sets so it's important to know which version you are seeing.  Users commonly use the wrong names to describe what they are seeing and this can cause confusion at the Help Community.

This article includes screenshots of the four versions I have identified so that they can be identified and described correctly.

1 The standard Gmail UI


This view is the default UI that appears when you are using a desktop or laptop computer or a tablet with a larger screen.  This is the most common view and has access to the full feature set.  NB: For this screenshot, the features Chat and Meet were enabled.

The image below shows what was current until early 2021.

2 Basic HTML View

Basic HTML is the view that Google offers to users on a slow connection as it requires lower data transfer to operate.  When you select this version, the URL is https://mail.google.com/mail/h/

This version cannot access the following features

  • General - advanced signature settings, the smart features
  • Accounts - check email from other accounts
  • Labels - label show/hide
  • Filters - address blocking
  • IMAP - advanced features
  • Chat and Meet, Offline, Themes, Keyboard shortcuts
  • Multiple Account Sign in

If you get into the Basic HTML view by accident, you can return to the Standard view by scrolling to the bottom of the Inbox and clicking on the link standard

3 Mobile View

Mobile view appears when Gmail recognises that it is running on a mobile phone.  The browser automatically redirects to https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/.  It is designed to maximise the use of the smaller screen.

This version cannot access the following features

  • Any settings except to turn Out of Office Autoreply on or off
  • Chat and Meet, Offline, Themes, Keyboard shortcuts

It can handle multiple account sign in.

At the bottom of the label list (accessed through the Menu icon - three horizontal lines at the top left) there are links to switch to either the Older view (next) or the standard desktop view.  The latter will take you to the Basic HTML view (see #2).

4. Older Mobile View

The older mobile version might appear automatically on an older mobile phone.  When it appears, the browser has redirected from the standard URL to  https://mail.google.com/mail/x/

You can switch to this version from the Mobile View (#3) using a link at the bottom of the label list.

This version cannot access the following features

  • Any settings at all
  • Chat and Meet, Offline, Themes, Keyboard shortcuts
  • Multiple account sign in

Please note: If you have issues with Gmail, do not comment here - comments will be deleted.
Ask your question at the Gmail Help Community:

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Clearing Cache and Cookies

A lot of hiccups in Gmail arise from corrupted cookies or cache.  There are instructions around on how to do this, but it can be difficult to find them.  The Gmail Help Article only gives the instructions for Google products.  The links to other browsers given there are almost useless because they just point to the home page for each other browser's support site.

So here is a collection of instructions for all browsers.  Each heading is a link to the vendor's site where I collected the instructions.

Chrome




  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. On your browser toolbar, click More Moreand then More Tools and then Clear Browsing Data.
  4. In the "Clear browsing data" box, click the checkboxes for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files.
  5. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything.
  6. Click Clear browsing data.

 Firefox

On 9 October 2018, I noticed that version 62 has different menu structure.  For V62:
  1. On your computer, open Firefox.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. Click the menu button  and choose Options.
  4. Select the Privacy & Security panel.
  5. Under Cookies and Site Data , click on the Clear Data button.
  6. Select both Cookies and Site Data and Cached Web Content then, click Clear.
If you are using an older version of Firefox, these instructions might apply
  1. On your computer, open Firefox.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. Click the menu button and choose Options.
  4. Select the Advanced panel.
  5. Click on the Network tab.
  6. In the Cached Web Content section, click Clear Now.

 Internet Explorer

  1. On your computer, open Internet Explorer.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. In Internet Explorer, select the Tools  button, point to Safety, and then select Delete browsing history.
  4. Choose the types of data or files you want to remove from your PC, and then select Delete.

Edge (New version based on Chromium)

  1. On your computer, open Edge.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. To view your browsing history, select the ... icon, then History > Clear browsing data.
  4. Choose the types of data you want to remove from your PC, then select Clear now.
  5. If you use Cortana and want to clear browsing history that's stored in the cloud, go to https://account.microsoft.com/account/privacy and sign into your Microsoft account.

Edge (before version 81)

  1. On your computer, open Edge.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. To view your browsing history, select the ... icon, then History.
  4. Select Clear history (top right).
  5. Choose the types of data you want to remove from your PC, then select Clear.
  6. If you use Cortana and want to clear browsing history that's stored in the cloud, select Change what Microsoft Edge knows about me in the cloud, then select Clear browsing history.

 Safari

Desktop
  1. On your computer, open Safari.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. Click on the Safari option on the menu bar and navigate to “History > Clear History”.
  4. Choose how far back (time range) you want to clear the browsing data.
    Please note that if your Mac and your other iOS device such as iPhone or iPad have Safari turned on in iCloud preferences, your browsing history would be removed from all of them if you take this action.
Mobile app
  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Safari.
  3. Now scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on Advanced.
  4. Tap on Website Data. ...
  5. Scroll to the bottom again and tap on Remove All Website Data.
  6. Confirm one more time you'd like to delete all data.

 Opera*

  1. On your computer, open Opera*.
  2. Sign out of your Google account if you are still signed in.
  3. From the main menu, select History.
  4. Hover over any entry and click the X that appears on the right.
  5. To clear all browsing history, including cookies and more, click the Clear Browsing Data… button on the top-right of the page. Read more about clearing private data.
* Opera is not officially supported by Gmail, but many users find it works.

Please note: If you have issues with Gmail, do not comment here.  Ask your question at the Gmail Help Community https://support.google.com/mail/community