Disable conversation view in the Gmail Android app

Actually, the title is total linkbait because you can’t. Google would rather inflict the wretched conversation view on you whether you like it or not. This might sound peculiar, but perhaps less so if you read “GMail: designer arrogance and the cult of minimalism“, and also this legendary rant from one of Google’s own prominent software engineers (Steve Yegge), of which a relevant excerpt follows:

“But when we [Google] take the stance that we know how to design the perfect product for everyone, and believe you me, I hear that a lot, then we’re being fools. You can attribute it to arrogance, or naivete, or whatever — it doesn’t matter in the end, because it’s foolishness. There IS no perfect product for everyone.

“And so we wind up with a browser that doesn’t let you set the default font size. Talk about an affront to Accessibility. I mean, as I get older I’m actually going blind. For real. I’ve been nearsighted all my life, and once you hit 40 years old you stop being able to see things up close. So font selection becomes this life-or-death thing: it can lock you out of the product completely. But the Chrome team is flat-out arrogant here: they want to build a zero-configuration product, and they’re quite brazen about it, and Fuck You if you’re blind or deaf or whatever. Hit Ctrl-+ on every single page visit for the rest of your life.”


So – if you’re like me and want to check out a great email app for Android which doesn’t use conversation view and includes all the bonus goodies the Gmail app is missing (think Thunderbird for Android), you should check out K-9 Mail:


The really nice thing is that if you want to support the developers of this fine application, you can pay a tiny sum for the deee-luxe version, which goes by the name of Kaiten:


Kaiten Mail running on Android


8 thoughts on “Disable conversation view in the Gmail Android app

  1. Dave

    Thanks for this. I get several emails forwarded or replied every day and the conservation view does not diplay them in the correct order. If everyone used GMail, they might show in the correct order, but replies from Outlook with the original message inline really make it difficult to follow the threaded view.

  2. Greg Hills

    The arrogance and stupidity of Google is on full display here. They have a “conversation mode off” button for the pc app of gmail but not for tablets or phones. Complete assholes!

    1. davekoelmeyer Post author

      Thanks for commenting, and I agree the inconsistency is maddening. I’ll also say that close to the majority of unencrypted search queries referring to my blog are for folks wanting to disable the conversation view for the Gmail mobile client.

      I’ve been using Kaiten mail now for a few months, and I can certainly recommend it above the Gmail client, if you are on Android at least.

      1. Greg Hills

        Dave thanks for the tip re kaiten. Problem for me is contacts syncing. If I go away from gmail on the android I complicate my life getting contacts (and calendars) synced properly.

        The arrogant assholes at Google created thios problem for me by canceling support for Google sync between blackberry and gmail.

        I used to think apple was the worst with their walled garden, no flash, yada yada. The arrogant assholes at Google are giving them a run for their money.

  3. Pingback: pdf.js support in Thunderbird | Dave Koelmeyer

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