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How to Turn Off the Promotions Tab on Gmail

Deactivating your promotions tab will change your life.

Photo by Rubaitul Azad / Unsplash

If you want to disable the tab, you can watch my tutorial video on YouTube:

Oren Cohen's YouTube Channel

TL;DR

How to remove the promotions tab on Gmail? Click the Gear-shaped icon in your inbox, head to the Inbox tab, and tick off Promotions in the tabs area.

Read on for a more in-depth guide.


If there was one thing that always bothered me, it was the number of promotional emails I received daily. I had started to unsubscribe from most senders. It is still hard, though. On the one hand, it disables notifications for many emails which you otherwise would have deleted anyway. On the other hand, essential emails often get filtered into that folder.

And yet, even after realizing the potential of the promotions filter to help me stay sane, I decided to remove it from my inbox. I decided to allow my mailbox to receive all emails as equals (except emails about social networks. That filter is still up and not going anywhere, thank god).

Disabling the promotions tab was a surprisingly healthy decision. Here’s why.

I Didn’t Miss Important Emails

When I deleted the filter, suddenly, I started receiving all of the emails that usually went there as notifications on my phone.

That was no fun, especially when a service was sending multiple emails every day.

But, among the spam, I received some critical emails that would have gone to the promotions tab otherwise. Was it the right choice? I was still not sure of it on Day one. I mostly thought I was losing my sanity to my iPhone’s notifications sound.

Now, over a few months of an inbox without a promotions tab (and way fewer subscriptions), I couldn’t be happier! I’m finally receiving fewer promotional emails, and I’m on top of everything in my inbox.

Hidden Subscriptions Made Themselves Known

Are you familiar with entering your promotions tab and searching for that one email you know you should have received and can’t find it? Well, sometimes, during that search, you come across an email from a subscription you don’t remember signing up for, and you ignore it because you’re doing something else now. Still, deep in your head, you think, “what is that underwear promotional email? I don’t remember signing up for underwear that only models wear.”

Consider getting that email as a notification on your smartphone during a workday or when sitting with friends. How would that make you feel? I would have felt embarrassed. I immediately unsubscribed from many subscriptions as they arrived.

It’s easier to ignore when you don’t keep up with the emails in that folder. But when it doesn’t exist, and your sacred primary inbox is littered with cat food ads when you don’t have a cat, you know it’s time for some unsubscribe clicks.

I Became Aware Of My Email Decisions

Did you know that a new Gmail address does not have a promotions tab? Google created that tab to remove confusion when people sign up for many promotions without realizing it. Disabling that tab allows you to look at the actual state of your inbox and organize it better.

It is the most natural action in the world to enter your email address for some prize. Well, at that pivotal sign-up moment, you don’t think of all the emails you’re going to receive and whether you want them. You want the prize that you’ll get soon. If it’s a list I want to be on, the content is not dull, and ads may be about things I will want to buy, I may decide to stay and consume it.

Let me clarify that last sentence: If you’re an author and try to sell me your book in an email, that’s fine. I will probably unsubscribe when you send me an article full of affiliate links that will get you money but aren’t necessarily attractive to me.

But, overall, I am now far more sensitive than I was and will turn down subscriptions that I don’t want to consume in my inbox.

How To Disable Your Promotions Tab On Gmail?

So, you’ve read what this simple change did for me, and you want to try it as well. Here’s a short guide to disabling your promotions tab on Gmail:

Author Screenshot.
  1. Access your Gmail account at gmail.com, click on the wheel, and then settings (click on All settings if needed).
  2. Click on Inbox.
  3. Remove the checkmark from promotions.
  4. Click on Save Settings at the bottom of the screen and brace yourself for impact.

That is all you need to do to remove your promotions tab. If you’re serious about doing it — do it right now, at this very moment. It will be challenging initially, but you won’t regret it.

After a few months without the promotions tab, I believe it was the right choice. I unsubscribed from many emails that were clogging my inbox, and even though I still get promotions, at least I’m fully aware of it and take action. Some of them are also interesting to me. Those emails don’t only drown, never to be seen. I already wrote about the benefits of cleaning your inbox. Disabling your promotions tab is the next step in that journey.

Good luck!

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