Google Messages adds customizable ‘swipe actions’

Google Messages adds customizable ‘swipe actions’

The latest beta update to Google Messages lets you customize what action—if anything—happens when you swipe away a conversation.

By default, Google Messages lets you quickly archive an unwanted conversation by swiping it away while on the app’s home screen. It doesn’t matter if you swipe left or right, the conversation is immediately hidden away on the “Archived” page.

However, swiping actions have become a tricky thing since Android 10 introduced full navigation. It’s a little too easy to try to swipe to go back and instead accidentally send another conversation the shadow kingdom the archive. For Google Messages, the situation got even more difficult in recent months, as the app got a navigation drawer, which offers a very similar gesture to swipe it up.

To prevent unwanted message removal, the latest update to Google Messages beta – version 20220721 – introduces a new “Swipe Actions” page in Settings. As previously spotted by our APK Insight team, the new settings let you choose what happens when you swipe a message left or right.

The three choices Google Messages offers are to send a conversation to the archive, delete it completely, or do nothing at all. In a bit of clever coordination, the user interface for these options is very similar to the same swipe action customization page in the Gmail app on Android today. And just like Gmail, Google Messages allows left and right swipes to be set to different options.

For those just trying to avoid errant swipes, the ability to disable one or both swipe directions is a nice touch. Meanwhile, power users will likely appreciate the ability to differentiate between swiping left and right to archive and delete.

That said, Google Messages still has room for growth compared to Gmail’s version of swipe actions. Where Google Messages only has options to archive or delete, Gmail lets you mark emails as read/unread or even snooze them with just a swipe.

With the feature now widely available in beta, appearing on every device we checked, it should only be a matter of weeks before it rolls out to all Google Messages users. In the meantime, if you want to try features like this before everyone else, it only takes two clicks to sign up for the Google Messages beta.

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