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How to: Enable Pinch-to-Zoom in Gmail [Beginners’ Guide]

With Google’s update of Gmail today, everyone running Ice Cream Sandwich and above can take advantage of the new pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete features. The feature does not come automatically enabled and must be turned on manually in order to be used, which seemed to confuse a few people who were trying to pinch on every email in their inbox.

Don’t worry, it’s an easy process and we have detailed it below so even our new Android-using readers can take advantage of this. 

Enabling Pinch-to-Zoom:

1.  Open the Gmail application.
2.  Under the Settings menu, select “General settings.”
3.  Down the page, hit “Auto-fit messages.”
4.  Back out to your inbox and try it out on an any email.

And there you have it! Now go, pinch-to-zoom like a madman!

Editing Swipe-to-Delete Settings:

1.  Open the Gmail application.
2.  Under the Settings menu, select “General settings.”
3.  Hit “Swiping conversation list.”
4.  Select which action you want the app to take when swiping a message.
5.  Back out to your Inbox and try it out.

And there you have. No more accidentally deleted or archived emails.

*The rest of the Android Beginners’ Guide is a one-stop shop for all of those new to Android.

  • John

    I don’t have the “auto-fit messages” option (Motorola razr m)

  • JeffColorado

    Go to “General Settings” and check “auto-fit”…that is all this article needed to say. It did not require 6 pages of instructions, LOL

  • Now please do this for the stock email client as well. I have four active email addresses, two in gmail and two I use with the stock client on my GNex. Having to scroll side to side, or not being able to see all of the picture elements at once is completely ridiculous. This is the one feature I miss from my iPhone.

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  • Nazzi_Muhammad

    Thanks. I was banging my girlfriend trying to figure this one out.

  • EvanTheGamer

    Best new feature on Gmail by far.

  • dsignori

    Good, and yet … After you pinch to zoom on text, it doesn’t automatically re-flow. You then have to double-tap after zooming to re-flow text. Must we always go one small step at a time?

  • SD_Scott

    Of course Tim “The Lady Slayer” knows about JackThreads… Classy.

  • Awesome, its about time! Love it!!!!!!1

  • What version of gmail is this from? My bionic can swipe to move conversations but does nt have any of these options.

  • LOL thanks! I was banging my head on my Note 2 trying to figure this out. 🙂

  • nightscout13

    I feel like a n00b for not knowing this…..

  • breadable

    Swipe to delete is soooo much better than poking at that tiny check box, where half the time I’d accidentally open messages, curse a lot, delete the single message then delete the ones I had already checked and give up. Now maybe I can get my inbox under 1000 unread messages.

    Think of all the new free space on Google’s servers!

  • nice! like the others, i felt like a noob when i couldn’t get this to work. the zooming update is great! i’m not so sure about the swiping one yet though.

  • Droids

    I wish there was an option to swipe in one direction to archive and swipe the other direction to delete. It’s too bad we have to pick one or the other.

    • Yeah, I was really hoping this was going to be an option and I’m sad it’s not.

    • dsignori

      Amen, exactly

    • michael arazan

      I wish they included this with the built in email app for other emails that people use too on android devices.

  • Guest

    Finally pinch to zoom on gmail! My only complaint is that it is limited on how much you can zoom in. This can be an issue if you need to zoom in on a barcode that needs to be scanned.

  • still cant do this yet, not showing an update.

  • Josh Oberg

    can’t do it on galaxy s3

  • Jroc869, Cool story bro

    I think this is more than just a helpful to for beginners, I was very confused and shame on Google for adding this feature and having it off by default.

    • indeed. WebOS from version 1 and up had swipe-to-delete enabled by default and webOS 3.0 had pinch-to-zoom in e-mail app enabled by default. Shame on Google for taking such helpful features and not enabling them by default (or at least providing a how-to for enabling it). Nevertheless good work they did on implementing it!

    • Off by default is a huge fail

  • Mack

    This is actually a very useful tip. I was confused as hell for a few minutes when I first got the 4.2 update on my Nexus 7 and pinch-to-zoom wasn’t working.