How To Enable The Unread Message Counter for Gmail Tabs in Chrome

One of the hidden gems in Gmail are the labs.  The labs are unsupported, experimental features that may make their way into the mainstream support for the email service.  For the most part, I don’t recommend using beta or unsupported features but there is one that has been there a long time and Google seems to continue to improve it.

The feature is the ability to enable an unread message counter on the Gmail tab in the Chrome browser on Windows, MacOS or Linux as well as in Chrome OS.

Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome

Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome

In this How To, I’ll show you were to go in Gmail to enable the feature so you can try it out for yourself.

Before I start, I’ll emphasize again that this feature is an experimental feature.  That means it may go away at any time or can cause issues with your ability to log in and check your account.  If you experience any strange behavior, you should disable the feature.  That said, I’ve been using this feature for months and haven’t had any issues.

First, go to your Gmail account in a tab in Chrome and click settings icon (the gear icon) and navigate down to Settings.  This will open up the settings for your account.  If you haven’t been in Settings, you will note there are a lot of tabs and things you can do to customize your Gmail experience.  The tab we are interested in for this How To is the Labs tab.  Click it.

You’ll find half a doze various settings you can enable on your account in the Labs tab but the one we are interested in is the Unread Messages Icon.  Enable it and then save your settings at the bottom of the page.

Enabled Unread Counter in Gmail Labs

Enabled Unread Counter in Gmail Labs

Now once you go back to your Inbox, you will see that there is a small unread indicator on the Gmail “M” icon in the tab.

The cool thing about this feature is that it follows you.  You are enabling it on the service itself so when you open up your account in a tab on another computer, you’ll see the unread messages icon.

If you ever want to disable it, just go back to the Lab settings and disable the feature.  Be sure to save your settings.

For more How To’s, be sure to check out the Tips & Tricks section of

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