How to Enable the Unread Message Icon in Gmail

Your Gmail account has a lot of different customization options. Some of these options let you do things like adjust the way your email is displayed or change the application’s behavior, while others provide some cosmetic adjustments.

One such adjustment involves the display of the Gmail icon in your browser tab. Typically there is just the Gmail icon, which looks like a red and white envelope. But you can adjust a setting in Gmail to display the number of unread messages on that icon, too.

This is a really helpful change if you often have a lot of tabs open in your Web browser and would like to know when you’ve received new emails without switching tabs.

Our guide below will show you how to add the unread message information to the Gmail icon in your Web browser tab.

Want to make your important emails easier to find? Learn how to change the subject line in Gmail so that you can search for conversations more effectively.

How to Show the Number of Unread Messages on the Gmail Icon

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser. This will also work in most other desktop Web browsers like Firefox or Safari.

Step 1: Sign into your Gmail account at

Step 2: Click the gear icon at the top-right of the window, then click See all settings.

click the gear icon, then click See all settings

Step 3: Select the Advanced tab.

click the Advanced tab

Step 4: Scroll down and click the Enable button next to Unread message icon.

how to enable the unread message icon in Gmail

Step 5: Click Save changes to apply this setting.

Your Gmail tab will refresh and you will see a number on the Gmail icon that indicates the number of unread messages in your inbox.

Find out how to recall an email in Gmail if you would like to give yourself a little extra time after sending an email where you can choose to unsend it.

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