Show Only Priority Emails in Gmail Inbox

See your most important emails first in Gmail

For a clear view, you can hide all but the most important messages from your default Gmail inbox. What is important to you gets priority treatment in Gmail. Learning from your actions within the app, Gmail automatically picks out the emails you need to see immediately and lets you browse the rest casually. After all, for such leisurely reading, the emails that are not urgent need not clutter the high-octane Priority Inbox.

Gmail offers various sections for a well-sorted Priority Inbox. You can pick and disable them to suit your needs—for a clean Priority Inbox, for example, that displays only important (or just important and still unread) messages, and all other mail only if you click.

Make Gmail Priority Inbox Show Only Important (Unread) Emails

To have Gmail show only priority messages (and only unread important mail, if you prefer) in the Priority Inbox:

On newer Gmail accounts, there's a good chance you'll already have this configured as soon as you enable your Priority Inbox.

  1. Open Gmail and select the Settings gear icon (⚙) at the top of the screen.

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  2. Choose Settings (or See all settings, in some cases) in the drop-down menu.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  3. Go to the Inbox tab.

    Gmail Settings with Inbox tab highlighted
  4. Select Priority Inbox in the drop-down menu next to Inbox type.

    Priority Inbox selected in menu next to Inbox type
  5. Next to Inbox sections, find an unused section marked as Empty. Select Add section to reveal the menu of available options.

    Gmail Settings showing Inbox sections
  6. Select Important and unread or Important from the menu.

    Important and unread means a message must be identified as both unread and important by Gmail to appear in the first section.

    Gmail Inbox section showing Important and unread
  7. Optionally, you can remove the other inbox sections to only see Important and unread messages first. Select a section in the drop-down menu and choose Remove section.

    Gmail Inbox section options with Remove section highlighted
  8. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and press Save Changes.

    Gmail Settings with Save Changes highlighted
  9. Back in the Priority Inbox, press the arrow icon to collapse Everything else.

    Gmail priority inbox with everything else collapsed

You can always view all your (other) inbox mail under Everything else in your Priority Inbox, or by going to the Inbox label.

Change the Number of Important Mails Shown in Your Gmail Inbox

To make Gmail show more messages in the first, Important or Important and unread section than the default 10:

  1. Go to your Inbox settings in Gmail. (See above.)

  2. Select Options next to the Important and unread section.

  3. Select the maximum number of messages for the section under Show up to.

    Gmail inbox settings with show up to highlighted
  4. Scroll to the bottom again, and press Save Changes.

Add More Inbox Sections

Do you want other categories broken out from Everything else in your Gmail inbox—say, messages you have starred or mail marked by an email triage service? You can add up to two more sections (or even replace Important).

To add an inbox section for any label or starred mail to your Gmail inbox:

  1. Open your Inbox settings in Gmail (see above.)

  2. Select Add section next to one of your Empty sections. To add a section for starred mail, choose Starred from the menu.

    Gmail add new priority inbox section
  3. To add a section for any label, select More options from the menu. Pick the desired label.

  4. Press Save Changes at the bottom of the page.