How does Gmail categorise the email messages in my inbox as primary, social, etc.? What should I do to make my mails send from my application be in the primary box always?

2 Answers 2


Gmail won't tell you exactly how it filters messages into each of the tabs/categories, but the overview is this:

  • Primary - Email from your contacts, friends and family, and those that didn't filter into other tabs.

  • Promotions - Specials, deals, coupons and similar from stores, shopping carts and the like.

  • Social - Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and sharing sites like YouTube, Soundcloud, dating websites and gaming portals, etc.

  • Updates - Usually bills, receipts and confirmation emails.

  • Forums - Notification emails from forums, discussion groups, mailing lists, etc.

You, as the sender, cannot really dictate which filter tab your email appears.

Not unless you tell your recipients to change it on their end. It has to be done per person getting your email. They need to filter your email explicitly into the Primary tab.

They can do things such as:

  • Drag and drop the emails from one tab over to another
  • Right-click on the message and Move to tab → Primary
  • ..thank you!Will they use the subject/content of the email to do this?
    – Dency G B
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 10:12
  • Gmail will use the sender/subject/content to determine how to filter. It will first use the sender. You need to ask recipients to add you to their contacts and/or explicitly move your emails into the Primary tab if they end up in another tab when they first are sent. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 20:23

You can use a filter to identify the incoming emails and then one of the things you can do besides adding labels is to automatically assign the message to a category.

  • Actually tried this and it works for the web version of gmail
    – aspo
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 11:39

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