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Gmail is like your grandpa’s car; it’s basic, it’s maybe not the most stylish looking thing, but it does what it needs to and doesn’t really require tinkering with. Just like an old-model car, if you were to change up a few things, you can get your Gmail working faster and smarter and maybe even be able to rev it at the lights…

Back in the days of internet past, emails had four basic functions: Compose, Save as Draft, Send, and Read. Then email moved to a browser-based system and Google took the power of their services and software and has built out an array of customization options for Gmail to make your email experience more dynamic. 

Now is the time to upgrade from your easy, comfy, family sedan and turn it into something the guys off Fast and Furious would be proud of. Here’s how to soup-up your Gmail with six simple tips and tricks.

30 seconds to save the world

If you haven’t spotted a typo after hitting Send, do you even email? Whether it’s professional embarrassment or the desire to not have sent the drunken email to an old flame, we’ve all wanted to not have sent an email. There is a nifty undo feature that Gmail has, but it’s not perfect. If you decide you don’t want your email to hit the web, you have a limited timeframe to call it back. 

As standard, Gmail gives you a quick 5 seconds to feel the pangs of guilt, but there are options to put that up to thirty seconds of thinking time to rectify and possible mistakes.  

To buy yourself more time, click on the gear icon that you’ll find in the top right corner and from there navigate to Settings > General. Near the top of the listed options, you’re going to see Undo Send and a drop-down menu. 

In the drop-down, you can choose to give yourself 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds to be able to pull an email back. You have now been given the magical gift of time, and when you see the Undo banner at the bottom of your screen after sending it will hang around for the time you’ve allocated.

More names that the Queen

It’s the bane of many of our lives; you have to hand over your email to subscribe to an email just so you can score a discount on the latest toothbrush, dog food, or novelty pajamas, or you start to get swamped by pointless updates from your latest streaming site sign-up. Want to consign all that junk to the deepest, darkest corners of your email? It’s very doable, no new email address required. 

All you need to do is add a + symbol between your username and the @ symbol and you can make an infinite number of addresses as variations of your primary Gmail address. To give you an example, you can give myusername+junk@gmail.com, which will send an email over to your main address without spammers ever actually being able to slide into your inbox. In your inbox, you can then filter through all the messages that have “myusername+junk” and have them directed to your junk or direct to trash so you don’t have the hassle of trawling through and deleting them again. 

This little life hack doesn’t just work for getting rid of your inbox’s junk. If you want to keep just one sign in but use your email for a few distinct purposes, you can create an endless number of email addresses whilst only needing one login for all. 

When you need to use your personal email for work too you can create myusername+working@gmail.com so you can see what’s work-related immediately. Have to administer your local games club? You can make myusername+games@gmail.com so you can easily find emails from your fellow members. We could go on but that’s the general idea. Go wild…

Use filters more creatively

There’s a lot more to filters than just keeping your emails separate in different categories. You can set up a filter that will scan everything landing in your inbox that includes the word “unsubscribe” and will consign them to spam forevermore.

Similarly, you can set up a filter to pick out everything with the words “tracking number” and send them to a specific file for you to track, or forget about, your buying history. It’s even possible to get rid of the little notification icon that draws you into your inbox every five minutes – simply make a filter that will mark every incoming email as “read”.

Filter for your life

  1. Go to the gear icon and click on Settings.
  2. Find and select the Filters & Blocked Addresses tab.
  3. Select the option to Create New Filter.
  4. Put the keywords you’re looking to filter in the relevant field: From to filter by sender, Has the words to scan entire emails, etc.
  5. Click the button to Create Filter.
  6. Next, you need to pick what happens to your filtered mail: Delete it, Skip the Inbox (Archive it), Mark as Read, Important, etc.
  7. Finally, click the option to Create Filter.

When your phone dies, send texts from Gmail instead

When your phone’s dead or you’re shit out of data, you can still default to sending a text message straight from your desktop. 

You just need to know the phone number you need to message and who their cell carrier is. To get an SMS over to them you just select Compose to write an email. In the username field, you add their ten-digit phone number with no spaces or dashes and find the gateway address from their carrier’s website to use as the domain, or what comes after the @, in the “to” field. 

To make it clearer, if you want to send a text via email to someone on Verizon, you’d put the address as 0123456789@vtext.com. To save you searching too hard, some of the other popular carrier domains are @mms.att.net for AT&T, Sprint uses @messaging.sprintpcs.com, and you need @tmomail.net for T-Mobile.

Forgot to sign out? Log out remotely

For those of us who need to be checking our email on public computers like at school or in the local library or print shop, it’s possible you’re going to forget to log out sometimes. If you leave your account logged in on a public computer you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. Being able to get into your Gmail is an identity thief’s dream; they can most likely get into your bank and credit card accounts, and even hijack your smart devices at home like your smart locks and security cameras.  

Obviously this has happened to someone who’s worked on Gmail because there’s a feature that will let you log out of any and all devices that you’re currently signed in on. To do this, scroll down to the bottom of your Gmail screen and click on the button for Details, you’ll find it right under the message about Last account activity. You’ll spot a button called “Sign out all other Gmail web sessions” and you’ll get logged out of every other session except the one that you’re in at the time.

Dale Smith wrote the original version of the article for cnet.

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