Gmail Categories are pre-defined tabs to organize the Gmail inbox.

Introduced May 29, 2014, Gmail Categories (also known as Inbox Tabs) are a way to automatically organize a Gmail inbox without having to write (sometimes confusing) Gmail Filters.

Except for Primary, the other tabs (categories) are optional and can be turned on as the user wishes.

  • Social - For updates from social media and related sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Promotions - For deals, offers, and other marketing email messages.
  • Updates - For receipts, confirmations, bills, statements.
  • Forums - For mailing lists, online forums, and discussion groups.

(Any message that would normally go in a disabled category will go to Primary instead.)

The user can train Gmail where certain types of messages go by dragging-and-dropping miscategorized messages into the appropriate tab.