Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Email How Gmail Marks Mail Important for the Priority Inbox Gmail studies specific criteria to determine which emails are important to you. Share Pin Email Print Aquir / Getty Images Email Gmail Yahoo! Mail By Heinz Tschabitscher Writer A former freelance contributor who has reviewed hundreds of email programs and services since 1997. our editorial process Heinz Tschabitscher Updated September 22, 2019 36 36 people found this article helpful Gmail doesn't have the priority inbox feature turned on by default. This feature splits the contents of your regular inbox into sections on the screen: Important and Unread, Important, Unread, Starred, and Everything Else. You can choose which of these to use. Gmail decides what you're likely to classify as important and places those emails in the Important and Unread section using criteria such as how you treated similar messages in the past, how the message is addressed to you, and other factors. Importance Markers Each email has an importance marker immediately to the left of the sender's name in the Inbox list. It looks like a flag or arrow. When Gmail identifies a particular email as being important based on its criteria, the importance marker is yellow. When it is not recognized as being important, it is just the empty outline of the shape. At any time, you can click the importance marker and change its status manually. If you want to know why Gmail decided a particular email was important, hover your cursor over the yellow flag and read the explanation. If you disagree, just click the yellow flag to mark it unimportant. This action teaches Gmail which emails you think are important. How to Turn on Priority Inbox Here's how to turn on Priority Inbox in the Gmail Settings: Open your Gmail account. Click the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen. Click the Settings gear (⚙) in your Gmail's navigation bar. Google, Inc. At the top of the Settings screen that opens, click the Inbox tab. Select Priority Inbox from the options next to Inbox type at the top of the screen. In the Importance markers section, select the radio button next to Show markers to activate it. In the same section, select the radio button next to Use my past actions to predict which messages are important to me. Select Save Changes. When you go back to your inbox, you'll see the sections on the screen. How Gmail Decides Which Emails Are Important Gmail uses several criteria when deciding which emails to mark as important or not important. Among the criteria are: Which emails you openWhich emails you reply toWho you send emails to and how oftenKeywords that occur in emails you usually readWhich emails you starWhich emails you archiveWhich emails you deleteWhich emails you mark important manuallyWhich emails you mark unimportant manually Gmail learns your preferences from your actions as you use Gmail.