Long time Gmail users may notice that their accounts have gotten sluggish over time. It can take longer to load your inbox and be a frustrating experience to open or send a message. This can happen for several reasons such as using a large number of add-ons or accumulating a high volume of messages, folders or filters.
There are several ways to counteract this slowdown process. Here are seven tips to get Gmail feeling fast again:
1. Disable Labs features. Google offers a feature called Gmail Labs that lets you try out experimental functionality that isn't quite ready for prime time. While many of these features are useful, they're not really necessary -- and may be contributing to Gmail slowdown.
Go to your Gmail Settings (the gear icon in the upper right), head to the Labs section and disable any features you don't use. Google also allows you to temporarily shut off Labs, if you prefer.
Related: 5 Ways to Tame Your Inbox
2. Turn off Chat. You may not even realize that Google Talk is running in a left sidebar Chat module whenever you log in to Gmail. To turn it off permanently, access your Gmail settings, look for the Chat section in the top menu, select the "Chat off" radio button and save your changes. Instead of using Gmail's Chat, use a dedicated chat client such as Adium for the Mac or Digsby for Windows.
3. Display 25 messages or less. Go to the General section of your Settings and look for the Maximum Page Size controls. Use the dropdown menu to adjust the "Show X conversations per page" down to 25 items or even less -- you can go as low as 10 threads per page.
4. Remove connected services. You can give a number of third-party sites and apps access to your Google Account in order to work with your Contacts, Calendars and other data. You may have a long list of connected services you no longer use. Head to your Authorized Access page and revoke access to any defunct web accounts or unused apps.
5. Disable browser check. Gmail checks for browser compatibility when it loads in order to provide the best user experience. However, this browser check can potentially take more time than it might save. You can disable this automatic process by using the "?nocheckbrowser flag" at the end of your login URL.
6. Delete filters. Using Gmail filters can be a powerful way to sort and route your messages, but you can accumulate an unwieldy collection over time. Go to Settings then Filters and remove any old directives that are no longer relevant. Consider unsubscribing to any infrequently read newsletters instead of filtering them into bulk folders.
7. Use a default theme. Custom themes are a fun way to personalize your Gmail account, but additional graphical elements take extra time to load. Try using the default Light theme instead, found at the top left under Settings then Themes.
What steps have you taken to improve your email service? Let us know in the comments below.
Based in Los Angeles, Barb Dybwad has covered and led online editorial teams in technology for the past decade. Specializing in consumer electronics, social media, digital entertainment and personal development, her work has appeared in Forbes, CNN, ABC News, USA Today, Yahoo News, Mashable and Engadget, among others.