Gmail sidebar cleaned up

If you’ve been using Gmail for several years, the site’s sidebar can easily get cluttered with unused labels and old Hangouts Chats messages. Not to mention the new Google Meet section. Here’s how to clean up the Gmail sidebar on the web.

Before we begin, yes, you can just click the Hamburger button to collapse and hide the Gmail sidebar, but that isn’t going to take care of the real problem.

Let’s start by disabling the Hangouts Chat and Google Meet section. Both clutter up the bottom half of the sidebar.

User removing the Google Meet section in Gmail sidebar

From the Gmail web home page, click the Settings gear icon found in the top-right toolbar.

Click the Gear icon in Gmail

Next, select the “Settings” option.

Choose the Settings option in Gmail

Now, go to the “Chat And Meet” tab.

Switch to Chat and Meet section

If you want to disable the Hangouts Chat box, go to the “Chat” section and click the radio button next to “Chat Off.”

To disable the Google Meet section, click the radio button next to the “Hide The Meet Section In The Main Menu” option. Google is slowly rolling out this option. If you don’t see it yet, wait a couple of days.

Click the “Save Changes” button.

Disable Hangouts Chat and Google Meet in Gmail Sidebar then click Save Changes

Gmail will now reload, and you’ll find that the Hangouts Chat and Google Meet sections have disappeared.

No Google Meet or Hangouts Chat sections in Gmail Sidebar

Now, let’s move on to the top half of the sidebar—the labels.

Go back to the Gmail Settings menu by clicking on the gear icon on the home page and navigate to the “Labels” section.

Go to Labels section in Gmail settings

Here, let’s first tackle the System Labels. In this section, if you want to hide any default labels that you don’t use often, click the “Hide” or the “Show If Unread” button next to it.

Hide system labels to clean up Gmail sidebar

And don’t worry, when you hide a label, it doesn’t disappear. When you click the “More” button, you’ll be able to see all hidden labels.

So, you can hide labels like Drafts, Spam, or Trash, and still access them later from the More menu.

Click More to expand all Gmail labels

From the Categories list, you can either hide individual categories or the entire section from the sidebar.

Hide Categories section to clean up Gmail sidebar

Lastly, take a look at the Labels section. This section contains all of the Gmail labels that you have created over the years. If you no longer use a label, you can choose to delete it by clicking the “Remove” button. (The messages with the label won’t be deleted.)

If you don’t use any labels often, click the “Hide” button or the “Show If Unread” button.

Hide personal labels from Gmail sidebar

Do this for all of the labels. Again, remember you can access hidden labels by clicking the “More” button from the sidebar.

From our long list of system and personal labels, we were able to bring it down to just four important labels.

Cleaned up Gmail sidebar without Google Hangouts or Google Meet section

Doesn’t that just look clear!


Want to continue customizing Gmail? Take a look at our complete guide on how to customize Gmail on the web.

RELATED: How to Customize Gmail on the Web

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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