One of the most common complaints I’ve seen about the new Mailbox app for the iPhone is its lack of support for Gmail labels. While those complaints are understandable, they aren’t entirely correct. Mailbox is no worse with labels than the default Mail app in iOS. Here’s how to get limited support for Gmail labels in Mailbox.
I hesitate to call this process a “hack,” because all you really need to do is tweak your current Gmail labels. Getting label support in Mailbox involves going into your Gmail settings, and nesting your current labels under the “Mailbox” label, so that the finished result looks something like this (click the image for a larger view):
To do this, go into Settings by selecting the gear icon on the right, and then selecting “Settings” in the drop down menu. Then select the “Labels” column on your settings page. To get a label to appear in Mailbox, simply type this before your label:
So, for example, to get the label “Receipts” to show up in Mailbox, you would want the label to look like this when you type it:
Gmail will automatically nest the label. This is even easier to do with new labels, as Gmail gives you the option to nest a label under another label when you create a new label.
In Mailbox, your labels will show up in your Lists, which you can use by swiping to the far left in your main mailbox view, or via the leftmost icon of the three in the top center of your screen when in single message view.
There is one major caveat that could be a deal breaker for some folks. You can only assign one label to a message. This is no worse than the default iOS Mail app, which only lets you file a message into one folder, but it is a step back from the Gmail app. I understand that the Mailbox developers feel that you should be using search, rather than labels, but that’s a bit narrow-minded in some situations. For example, I receive many pitches here at 40Tech, and occasionally like to go back and review them. They cover all sorts of topics, and I don’t remember all of the topics. I’d never find most of them with a search. The Mailbox approach, though, has inspired me to cut back on the use of labels. I only label items that I know I’ll want to find in the future, and that won’t be easy to find.
If you know of any other Mailbox tricks, please share them in the comments.
This tip first spotted in several places on Twitter, and over at violentnecessity.net.
Tag photo by ba1969, from stock.xchng