What to do about "Important" folder in Gmail folder?

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Just noticed a folder titled "Important" within the Gmail folder for each of my Gmail accounts.

I use Joe's Achieving Email Bliss approach in setting up Apple Mail. Have for a long time. Works great. :-)

But what is this folder? And what to do?

For both accounts there are more than one thousand messages. This folder may have been there for a long time since I never venture in there and only did so because I was helping my wife get her JWK setup back after it got munged for some still unknown reason.

Thanks for any tips,

Norm
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normharris3

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Posted 4 years ago

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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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"Important" is a relatively recent addition to Gmail. It's basically a special label that Gmail applies automatically to help you figure out which of the messages in your bulging Inbox are most deserving of your attention. Personally, I simply ignore it, because my Inbox is almost always empty anyway!
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normharris3

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Thanks Joe.

So there is no way to remove it for "Email Bliss"?

And while my Inbox is empty (per your tips :-)), the two Gmail accounts' Important have 1,000 plus messages. What to do with them.

Appreciate as always.
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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You can't remove it from the Gmail website, but you can hide it in the sidebar, just as you can with any label. You can hide it in Mail the same way I describe for Starred and All Mail if you prefer.

As for the messages that already have that label, remember, it's just a label. Honestly, you can just ignore it! It doesn't mean those messages are only in some particular mailbox somewhere. Remember, Gmail messages can have multiple labels. So just hide that one and don't worry about it. Really!
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normharris3

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Thanks very much.

I'll assume all those messages so labeled must be all incoming since Google introduced "Important" folder.

Didn't know if you had a "mapping" (Use for....) approach to follow.

I'll follow your Starred and All Mail approach. Liked that for those. :-)

Thanks very much for your help.
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731

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I do not want any of my mail to go into the Important folder. I have removed the label, but the mail still goes into that folder. The problem comes when it is downloaded to my iPad. I do not see the important folder on the iPad. I think I have deleted mail and it is still there because it is in the important folder which I cannot see. I HATE this!!!!!
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731

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Another reason I do not like the Important folder. If I take an email that is in the important folder and move it to a folder, than delete the item from the important folder it gets deleted from the folder I moved it to. I can decide what is important and don't need Google telling me what they think is important.
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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I'm not positive about this, but I think if you change your Inbox style to Classic in Gmail's Web-based settings (Settings > Inbox) the Important label might go away.

Personally, I use Gmail's Web-based interface and appreciate greatly how it separates the important messages from the chaff. It's sort of the reverse of spam filtering - call out the messages that I'm most likely to want to read.

cheers... -Adam
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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I'm the opposite of Adam—I can't stand Gmail's Web interface and I don't like "Important" at all. So I turned off "Priority Inbox." To do this, log in to your Gmail account on the Web. From the gear menu in the upper right, choose Settings. Then, you MAY see a "Priority Inbox" tab. If so, select Do not show Priority Inbox, or if not, you'll see an Inbox tab with an Inbox Type pop-up menu; choose Classic (or really anything other than Priority Inbox) from that menu. Also click the No Markers radio button and then click Save.

This should prevent messages from being marked as Important in the future.

Joe
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SKM

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If I take an email that is in the important folder and move it to a folder, than delete the item from the important folder it gets deleted from the folder I moved it to. I can decide what is important and don't need Google telling me what they think is important. folder and move it to a folder, than delete the item from the important folder it gets deleted from the folder I moved it to. I can decide what is important and don't need Google telling me what they think is important.
I DID find all of my emails from folders but HOW
can I get all my messages restored to their appropriate folders?
I had 3k messages. Thanks Google for deleting 4 yrs of HIGHLY important emails!
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Liz Davis

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Sue - how did you find all the emails that got deleted from your Important folder and subsequently from all the other folders that you had them files in? I just gave myself the same problem and can't figure out how to get them back.
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SKM

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Liz, I was soooo pissed about this. I was beside myself trying to figure out how to get those back. I definitely DID NOT get the emails put back into all the appropriate folder I had them in. I just have to leave the "important" folder alone. I don't look in there anymore, simply because I want to clean it up and that caused me tremendous work. I made a folder labeled
"2014 accidentally deleted emails". Look for all the deleted emails in trash. I'm not sure where I found them. I just moved the whole lot at one time to my new folder. I could have never spent the amount of time to restore all the emails to their rightful folders. So, If I ever cant find one, I just look in the
"2014 accidentally deleted emails". I hope that helps. I just can't remember where I found them after I deleted the email in the "important" folder. Check trash. Lemme know what you come up with.
Sue
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SKM

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Liz, ask this username Psychodelia7 they seemed to have figured it out better.
See several comments below this one is Psychodelia7.
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M A

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Instead of making it simple they make it it complicated & frustrated
They think they are doing innovations ! & foget about practicality with simplicity - Old times were better :)
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731

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Thanks Joe, the directions you gave me help. Messages still go in the Important folder, they are not marked and I can move them into another folder and they do not stay in Important. I still don't like the folder, but I can learn to live with it, since I think it will always be there.
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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If you go to the Gmail Web site and choose (gear menu) > Mail Settings, and then go to Labels, you should be able to uncheck "Show in IMAP" next to "Important" and click Save, and if so, that might solve the problem.

Joe
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731

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I have done that and it still doesn't help. Thanks
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ravenwyn

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You can only turn it off on the desktop version. Not on a tablet nor a mobile. I too hate this feature, its for people who are incompetent about managing their information flow.
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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Sounds like you must get much less mail than I do. Separating the wheat from the chaff is very helpful in dealing with my influx. :)
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PJ

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When I uncheck the Show in IMAP label, I can't see my sent items in Outlook.
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Psychodelia7

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What a piece of crap this important folder is! I am filthy with them! I spent a whole heap of time putting all my stuff into folders last week, and happened to open this 'important' drivel and all the emails are there! Surely if I put them into folders that shows that they are important to me. If I delete anything from 'important' it deletes it from my own folders. I HATE HATE HATE HATE this stupid time wasting piece of shit!
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731

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Another case of "someone" telling me what is important in my life! I too HATE the folder but it seems that the complaints are falling on deaf ears and they what to control my life!!!!!!!!!!! I realize some people like it and that's great. I would like the abilitity to turn off the feature. I get my mail on my iPad, but have to go to the computer and make it a point to login to my email, go the the IMPORTANT folder, select all and mark as unimportant. Usually I have already deleted most of the emails but have to waste my time looking thru them again to see what ones were important to me and delete the ones that were not important to me. The key words are "Important to ME"
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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If you read the later posts in this page, you'll see that you can hide the Important label from IMAP, so it won't show up in IMAP clients. That should address all your complaints.
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Psychodelia7

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I wrote a scathing comment yesterday when I joined this site but it does not appear to be here. Just as well, for after finding out how easy it was to get rid of, I would have had to apologise. I would have appreciated a bit more about it when it was initiated, however, as I spent a lot of time and trouble putting all my emails in folders and subfolders only last week, then went a bit crazy when I saw them in 'important' and managed to delete some of the emails that I had already put in my own folders - it didn't send them to trash, they were gone! Anywho, have sorted out now, praise the Lord.
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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The response is just above (GetSatisfaction appears to hide all but the most recent comments) but I'm glad you got things sorted out. It can be extremely frustrating when it seems like a system has caused you to lose a lot of work; it's always worth remembering that Gmail was designed for its Web interface, and not for IMAP use, so you have to be a bit more careful when using it that way.
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Abel Gancsos

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You can remove it if you wish. Actually, you can remove any of the folders added by Google-

http://howto.computerfoxdesign.com/en...
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731

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I can remove any folder but IMPORTANT....not an option in my tds (gmail)
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justmeee

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Just go in to the folder periodically, checkmark all the messages, then on the "other" dropdown menu, select mark as not important. I hate it too. It is the only thing I have come up with. This will remove them from the folder.
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Richard Freed

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What isn't being said but should be said is that Google has unilaterally adopted an approach that is very difficult to avoid. Using my email has become a daily aggravation ever since gmail initiated this new "feature." It doesn't play well at all with the client software I use (Apple Mail or Sparrow), requiring much more work. I need and want to turn off this "feature," and Google should allow me that preference.

If you don't like this new feature, either, please let Google know through every avenue at your disposal.
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731

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I agree 100% with your reply. Why should google decided how I view my email. Lots of people like it....but lots don't like it. I would like to see a turn off option! I download my mail to my iPad and have to go on to my PC every so often to clean out my important folder. Deleting email from my inbox does not delete the mail from the important folder!
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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I'm curious how your accounts are different from mine. I prefer the Gmail Web interface, so I don't particularly stress about what does and does not show up in IMAP, but I can absolutely uncheck the Show In IMAP checkbox for the Important label. See the image:


The only label you can't control is Inbox.
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Richard Freed

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Thanks for your reply, Adam.

I don't use the web interface because the web isn't always available to me.

I have a question: If I choose to "hide" the "Important" mailbox, will emails that used to go into the "Important" mailbox be rerouted to my inbox? The aggravation I alluded to in my previous post is this: I'm now getting a huge number of emails in my "important" mailbox, none of which appear in my "inbox." So in a nutshell: Google has, in effect, created an additional inbox for me which they call "Important." Worse, Google is presuming that they know better than I what's important to me. I already have a system for designating what's important. Flags, for instance, as well as the 3rd-party app "Mail Tags," which is far more powerful and configurable than what Google has decided is best for me. Bottom line: I like others, it appears, must constantly check both mailboxes.
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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Hiding the Important label from IMAP has no effect on whether Gmail applies that label. But if you turn off Priority Inbox (as I describe earlier in this thread), you should see all your messages in your Inbox.
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BrianW

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Ah, but will it at least stop Outlook from synching that folder? I just clicked on it and now I have 5,119 message headers cluttering up my PST file...
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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The first question is whether you're using IMAP or Exchange to fetch your Gmail using Outlook. Hiding an IMAP label has no effect when you access an account via Exchange. On the other hand, Outlook does let you unsubscribe from individual IMAP mailboxes, which should have the same effect. I'm not sure if you can do that for Exchange mailboxes too.
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BrianW

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Problem fixed: I have hidden the "Important" label from IMAP - now Outlook is blissfully unaware of it!
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BrianW

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To clarify - I use Outlook to connect to GMail using IMAP.
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Joe Kissell, Minister of Text

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Nice! I'm glad you got it working.
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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If it helps, you might think about it differently. Gmail, viewed through the Web interface, is what Google is giving you for free. The Priority Inbox feature, with the capability to mark messages as important, is designed to work in Gmail's native interface. It's essentially spam filtering in reverse, where it watches what you do, and who you get email from, and that sort of thing, and tries to help important messages bubble to the top, separating them from marketing mail, mailing lists messages, random messages from people you don't know, and so on. I find it extremely helpful, and extremely accurate - it's uncommon for an unimportant message to make it into my Important list (a little more common for an important message to be missed, but that's what training is for, just as with spam). That said...

Google has also bolted onto their system an IMAP translator of sorts, but since Gmail's internal architecture uses labels instead of mailboxes (so any message can have more than one label), it's not a really tight mapping. As such, the Inbox label, the Important label, and any other labels you apply are all seen by IMAP clients like Mail as separate mailboxes, since in IMAP, a message cannot exist simultaneously in multiple mailboxes. So, rather by definition, Gmail can't work as designed when you're not viewing it in the Web interface, and little problems like this are unavoidable. You can work around them by doing as Joe suggests and turning off Priority Inbox and hiding the Important label.

If you find this truly problematic, it might be worth looking into a different email system that is true IMAP from the core, since that's what IMAP clients like Mail are expecting. Some people have had very good luck with Fastmail, for instance.

cheers... -Adam
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Bonnie Adamson

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Well, I learned the hard way--90% of my messages were being duplicated in the "Important" folder, which seemed to me to be a waste of space (since they were effectively duplicating the "All Mail" folder). So I had the bright idea to clear the "Important" folder. Guess what--deleting messages duplicated there did NOT simply delete duplicated messages, it deleted every place that message was stored: All Mail, Sent, Inbox, everywhere. From the server. They no longer exist anywhere. Sigh.
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vana

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Just did the same thing! Sine it was a separate Important folder I thought it would only delete the duplicates that come up as 'important' when I'm searching for something. MAIL help was no help at all.
Sure wish I would have seen your post first. DId u ever manage to retrieve them again?
vana
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Bonnie Adamson

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Have you already emptied your trash folder, too? If not, they'll be there.

I unfortunately deleted Trash at the same time--very dumb move. Also, there's a way, if you use Thunderbird (which I do) to retrieve emails even if they have been dumped from Trash, but NOT if you have compacted your folders--which I had also done. Short answer: no, I never go them back!
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vana

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I also deleted the trash...duh. Mail shoudl have some kind of warning on the ap. BUT the good news is I'm in luck. I remembered that a few yrs ago when i moved fro yhoo to gm that i set it up to automatically for gm to forward to yahoo. All the emails are there! I'm sooooooo happy! I strongly recommend this as a makeshift backup. Hallelujah the mail has risen!
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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Sorry to hear about it, Bonnie! It's really important to understand that Gmail is using labels - not mailboxes - and therefore those messages are NOT duplicates, they are simply appearing in multiple places. Any given message in Gmail can have multiple labels, but traditional email systems don't allow a message to live in multiple mailboxes; hence the confusion.
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Bonnie Adamson

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Right--and thanks for clarifying in such an articulate way.

I'm relatively new to gmail, having used an att account for years. I thought web-based mail was a wonderful thing when my computer crashed, but now I see there are advantages AND disadvantages to both systems . . .
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Adam C. Engst, Publisher

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As I've noted previously in this thread, the trick with Gmail is that it's designed entirely around the Web interface; IMAP is literally bolted on as an afterthought. So if you use the Web interface, confusions like this don't arise as they do when Gmail's innovations like labels are funneled into older paradigms like mailboxes.

But then you have to read on the Web, and not in a client app. I prefer that, but many people prefer the opposite.

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