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Open Gmail's settings on the web, click the "Themes" tab, and set any theme you like. Gmail offers a variety of backgrounds, and you can also choose any photo you have in Google Photos. Gmail's mobile app offers light and dark mode options, but not customizable backgrounds.

To add a personal touch to your email inbox, you can change your Gmail background to something you like. You can choose from one of the many built-in themes or upload your own photo. There’s an option to enable dark mode, too. We’ll show you how.

RELATED: How to Customize Your Gmail Address on the Fly

Customize Your Gmail Background on the Web

To change how Gmail looks on the web, first, launch your web browser and open Gmail. Then, sign in to your Gmail account.

After signing in, from Gmail’s top-right corner, choose the gear icon and click “See All Settings.”

See All Settings inside Gmail on desktop

In “Settings,” from the tab list at the top, select the “Themes” tab. Then, choose “Set Theme.”

Theme settings inside Gmail on desktop

A “Pick Your Theme” window will launch. Here, you’ll see many built-in themes that you can use inside Gmail. Choose a theme from the list and click “Save” at the bottom.

To turn on dark mode, select the “Dark” theme on the list.

Tip: To go back to Gmail’s default appearance in the future, select the “Default” theme on the list.

Theme settings inside Gmail on desktop

To use your own image as your Gmail background, head to Google Photos and upload your image there. Then, in the “Pick Your Theme” window, select the “My Photos” option.

My photos inside Gmail on desktop

In the “Select Your Background Image” window, at the top, choose “My Photos.” Then, select the photo you’d like to use as your Gmail background and click “Select.”

Photo background settings inside Gmail on desktop

Back on the “Pick Your Theme” window, choose “Save.”

Photo background settings inside Gmail on desktop

And you’re all set. Gmail will now feature your specified theme or picture as the background. Enjoy!

Change Gmail’s Appearance on Mobile

The Gmail mobile app only allows you to switch between light and dark modes.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad running iOS or iPadOS 13 or newer, Gmail will automatically follow your device settings. The same is true if your Android device is running Android 10 or newer.

If you’re using an older version of iOS or iPadOs, or any Android device, you can turn on dark or light mode independently from inside the app.

To do so, in the Gmail app’s top-left corner, tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines).

Gmail on mobile

Choose “Settings” from the menu.

Gmail settings on mobile

Then, select General Settings > Theme > Dark. On iPhone or iPad, you may not see General Settings.

Tip: To go back to Gmail’s default mode in the future, choose the “System Default” option.

Dark mode settings in Gmail on mobile

And that’s it. You’ll find that Gmail now uses a dark or light theme across all its sections. Enjoy the customized Gmail app on your device.

Do you find Gmail’s conversation view annoying and want to remove it? If so, there’s an easy way to do that, as explained in our guide.

RELATED: How to Disable Conversation View in Gmail

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Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
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