How to Stop Gmail from Marking Emails as Updates – Set Up This Filter

One of the most popular posts here is How to Disable and Remove Important Labels in Gmail.  Seems lots of people are being driven crazy by Google’s overzealous and unwanted “helpfulness.” Case in point, I recently had a reader leave this question on that post:

Do you have a similar workaround for Updates in Gmail? I have unchecked the category in settings, but items are still going there. Also, we have thousands of emails in Updates folder but I don’t want to delete them because then it deletes them everywhere.

Here’s what Google Support has to say, but it’s totally unhelpful.

Yes, there is a way to stop Gmail from marking emails as Updates and prevent them from being automatically moved to the Updates category. You can create a similar filter to the one you use for the Important markers. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

How to Set Up a Filter to Stop Emails from Being Marked as Updates

How to Set Up a Filter to Stop Emails from Being Marked as Updates step 1

  1. Open Gmail and Go to Settings:
    • Click on the gear icon in the top right corner.
    • Select “See all settings.”

     

    How to Set Up a Filter to Stop Emails from Being Marked as Updates step 2

  2. Navigate to Filters and Blocked Addresses:
    • Click on the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab.
    • Scroll down and click on “Create a new filter.”

     

    How to Set Up a Filter to Stop Emails from Being Marked as Updates step 3

  3. Set Up the Filter Criteria:
    • Leave ALL fields empty.
    • Click on CREATE FILTER.

     

    How to Set Up a Filter to Stop Emails from Being Marked as Updates step 4

  4. Apply the Filter Settings:
    • Click on “Create filter.”
    • In the next screen, check the box for “Categorize as” and select “Primary” from the dropdown menu.
    • Optionally, check “Apply the label” and select a label you want to apply to these emails for easier organization.
    • Check the box “Also apply filter to matching conversations” to apply the filter to existing emails.
  5. Finalize the Filter:
    • Click “Create filter” to save it.

This filter will effectively prevent new emails from being categorized as Updates by ensuring they are always placed in the Primary tab.

Handling Existing Emails in the Updates Folder

For existing emails in the Updates folder that you don’t want to delete, you can move them to another folder without deleting them:

  1. Select All Emails in the Updates Folder:
    • Go to the Updates tab in Gmail.
    • Check the box at the top to select all emails on the current page.
    • Click on “Select all conversations in Updates” to select all emails in the Updates folder.
  2. Move Emails to Another Folder:
    • Click on the “Move to” icon (a folder with an arrow) and select “Inbox” or any other folder/label you want to move them to.

This will ensure your emails are moved out of the Updates category without being deleted.

By following these steps, you can stop Gmail from automatically categorizing emails as Updates and manage your existing emails more effectively.

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