Android Intelligence Advice

A simple way to supercharge Gmail snoozing

Make Gmail's snoozing feature far more powerful with this easy-to-implement efficiency-boosting enhancement.

Gmail Snoozing
Designer-kottayam/Google/JR Raphael

Android Intelligence Advice

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Being able to snooze messages in Gmail is fantastic. I love snoozing. It's one of my favorite methods of organizing my inbox. (It's also one of my favorite things to do at night — and occasionally also in the afternoon. Zzz.)

Much as I love the fact that Google added a native snoozing function into Gmail, though, I frequently find myself wishing that email-dozing option had a little more oomph to it. In addition to snoozing away incoming emails I'm not quite ready to answer, y'see, I'd like to be able to snooze message threads as I'm replying to 'em — without having to go back and remember to do it after I hit the "Send" button. And ideally, I'd love to be able to make a snooze hold true only if I haven't heard back from the other person — "remind me about this in [x] days only if I don't get a response," in other words.

Snoozing in Gmail, unfortunately, is still far too basic for any of that. But guess what? Rather than sit back and wait for Google to cook up more powerful options, you can take matters into your own hands and implement your own advanced snoozing setup this very second. All you need is the aid of a third-party service and a couple quick tweaks to your Gmail settings.

So grab the nearest nightie and put on your favorite sleeping cap (you do wear a sleeping cap, right?) — and let's spruce up your Gmail snoozing arrangement.

Preparing your new Gmail snoozing setup

The first thing you need to do is install the Boomerang Chrome extension (or Firefox, Safari, Edge, or Opera extension, if you prefer). Boomerang has been around since 2010, has 1.7 million users on Chrome (and another 200,000-plus in the G Suite Marketplace), and has average ratings between four and five stars, depending on where you look. The service does require full access to your Gmail account — invariably, given the nature of what it does — but its privacy policy and FAQ page make it clear as day that the company stores only the headers of messages for emails you process with it and never shares or sells any sort of personal data.

Only you can decide if you feel comfortable allowing any third-party app access to your account, but this particular service seems pretty darn trustworthy from the outside.

Once you've installed the extension and followed the various prompts to allow Boomerang to operate, you'll find a new row at the bottom of your Gmail message-composing window. Along with a smattering of other commands that you may or may not find useful, that bar gives you the critical ability to snooze a message — or "Boomerang" it, in the service's vernacular — at any time you want and optionally only if you haven't received a response by that point.

Gmail Snoozing (1) JR

Handy, no? Hang on, though: There's one more piece to this puzzle. In order to really streamline the snoozing process, you'll want to mosey into the main Gmail settings (by clicking the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the site and then selecting — yup — "Settings") and scroll down the first screen you see until you find the option for "Send and Archive." Set that sucker to show the "Send & Archive" button, if you haven't already, and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen and give that glorious "Save Changes" button a click.

Now, when you go to respond to a message, you'll see something like this at the bottom of Gmail's compose window:

Gmail Snoozing (2) JR

See that nifty new "Send + Archive" button? It's the final ingredient in a potent combo that allows you to send a response to something, archive the message, and set it to return at a certain time only if the other person hasn't responded — all in one fell swoop. All you've gotta do is check that "Boomerang" box, adjust the snooze time if you need to, and then click that beautiful blue "Send + Archive" button — and presto, change-o, just like that, everything's done and your inbox is tidy.

If you really wanna get wild, you can even attach a note for yourself that'll appear when the message makes its way back from its siesta. Just click that dropdown menu next to the Boomerang command in the Gmail compose window — the one that lets you change the length of your snooze time — and check the "With a note" option in the menu that appears. You can then type in whatever memo you want...

Gmail Snoozing (4) JR

...and when your message Boomerangs back, your note will be attached.

Gmail Snoozing (5) JR


Some advanced snoozing considerations

Now, nothing is perfect — and there are indeed a few noteworthy catches to this setup. First, messages snoozed with Boomerang are handled by Boomerang and not by Gmail itself. That means any emails you snooze in this manner won't show up in the standard Gmail "Snoozed" section, which is mildly annoying for obsessive organizers like me.

Your slumbering missives are still perfectly accessible, though: You just have to click the Boomerang icon in the upper-right corner of the Gmail site and select "Manage scheduled messages" from the menu that appears to find them. Alternatively, you can look for the "Boomerang" label within your regular Gmail interface; any messages you snooze or schedule will always be stored there while they're pending. And any messages that are currently snoozed will show an indication of their status when you open 'em, along with buttons to change or cancel the action.

Gmail Snoozing (6) JR

The second asterisk is the cost: Boomerang is free to use only if you snooze no more than 10 messages a month with the service. If you anticipate needing its method of snoozing more than that, you'll have to pony up five bucks a month for its unlimited-use personal plan. (It's a little less if you pay on an annual basis.) Team plans are also available, if that's your jam. Of course, you can always combine Boomerang-style snoozing with native Gmail snoozing, if you want to stretch out those 10 free super-snoozes per month and use 'em only when you really need 'em.

And finally, there's the mobile factor: Boomerang's super-snoozing powers revolve primarily around the browser extension and the Gmail desktop site. That means from the Gmail Android app, you won't be able to set any new Boomerangs — though any already-Boomeranged messages will still show up in your inbox as they should, even with any notes you've attached in place.

Gmail Snoozing (7) JR

If you want to snooze new messages from your phone using Boomerang's advanced arrangement, you'll need to rely on Boomerang's own Android mail client — which, despite what the Jelly-Bean-era screenshots on the app's Play Store listing suggest, actually isn't half-bad, so long as you don't mind seeing your email in a single list instead of with Gmail's usual categories. It kinda reminds me of the popular Gmail alternative Newton Mail in terms of its general look and feel. (And the app was updated as recently as this year, incidentally; it seems someone at Boomerang is just, if I may, snoozing when it comes to Play Store presentation.)

Gmail Snoozing (8) JR

So there you have it, my fellow slumber seeker: a supercharged snoozing setup for your super-busy life. Snooze away, sweet friend, and enjoy your newfound email efficiency.

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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

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