Gmail, Won’t You Be My Default Mail Client, Please?

Several years ago my school district transitioned to Google Apps for Education and Gmail became the handler of our email. After the move we encountered an issue where email links in Chrome were being handed off to the default email app on our laptops (in our case, Mac Mail) instead of Gmail. This was very frustrating for our users until we found a Chrome Extension, Mailto, to help redirect the email link requests.

Fast forward to today, and lo and behold there is an option built right into Chrome to ensure that Gmail is the default mail client for email links.

  1. Open your Chrome browser
  2. Navigate to mail.google.com or use the Gmail app from the navigation ‘waffle.’
  3. After the Gmail app has loaded, locate the omnibox (a.k.a. address bar) at the top of the Chrome browser window. Move down until you reach the far end of the bar and look for a pair of overlapping diamond icons.
  4. Click on the double diamonds to access a pop-up window containing the option to allow mail.google.com to open all email links. Select ‘Allow’ enable this feature.

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If you use Google’s Inbox app, then you will need to go into the app Settings and disable the “Redirect Gmail to inbox.google.com” option under ‘Other’ then follow steps 2 through 4 from above. Afterward, navigate to inbox.google.com and then into Settings to re-enable the redirect option.

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If for some reason you do not see the double diamonds icon in the address bar, then you can still access this option from the Settings panel in Chrome. The complete navigation tree to find this option is Settings -> Show advanced settings… -> Content settings button under Privacy -> Manage handlers button under Handlers. However, I think it’s easier to go up to the search box in the Settings panel and type in the keywords: manage | handlers and let Google show you the way there.

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NOTE: This option does not make the Mailto Chrome extension obsolete. Rather, because it is an extension Google Admins can choose to deploy it to all of the users inside of their organization.

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