I have been considering switching to GMail recently. I like the conversation view, but I do not like the fact, that the READ flag is applied to the entire conversation, not to the individual messages. What is the rationale behind that? Isn't that obvious that a unit of what we read in a single reading is a message?

This solution forces me to read messages in the conversation again to see, what's new. I can't be sure, that only the most recent message is one that I haven't read. There may be more. But how to know, which of them are new to me?

I am aware of the question How to mark as unread just one message and not the entire conversation in Gmail, but I would like that someone explains me, why an email app with such a high reputation has this single thing so much broken. I guess there might be something wrong in my mindset, but please, let me know, what it is.

1 Answer 1


Gmail marks messages as unread, not the whole thread.

Your statement is not completely true indeed: "This solution forces me to read messages in the conversation again to see, what's new".

What realy happens is the following: when some message(s) in the thread is (are) unread, then it is (they are) shown up at first, while the read ones are collapsed and are before the one you see.

  • Thank you. Now I see where my problem is. It is in that GMail automatically marks messages as read, which is a setting that I turn off when working with other client emails (I claim that no program can know better than me whether I read something). I do not see an appropriate setting in Gmail, however.
    – user35242
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 6:30
  • The more reasonable workaround is that instead of clicking on the back button, you click on the 'mark as unread' option in the "other" button.
    – Daniele B
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 11:38

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