I’ve been working on this update for the last month, and have been really looking forward to showing you, and then at the last possible minute, Gmail had a major breaking change and so it’s become a story of “ActiveInbox is fixed”. 

Thanks Google. 

There’s a Lite mode! 

A little disclaimer: I don’t think Lite mode will apply to most of you reading this, but you might like it for any personal accounts you have.

I’ve always tried to make ActiveInbox as simple as possible, on the basis that simple is what actually gets used daily. 

The original insight was that the emails are the tasks. You don’t want to create a separate task from an email, and then have to track them both. 

But a few of you have told me that some features are too much for your personal accounts.

So I’ve added the preference to turn off what I’m now calling Pro features, leaving only due dates. (I.e. no Waiting On, no Projects, no Sub Tasks & Notes, no Focus Mode, no Related items). 

Very soon, I’ll be rolling out a Lite payment plan that’s more affordable for personal accounts that don’t need as much power – but do still want the confidence that no important email will be missed. 

If you’ve already tried ActiveInbox on your personal accounts, I’ll be sending you another email shortly to offer another trial.

The Hover Action Bar is easier to use

I’m sure you know that when you’re in the inbox, you can hover over an email and do regular ActiveInbox things like set a due date.

But the bar has always been slightly fiddly to use. It often disappears right when you need it.

So now I’ve made it more stable, at the tiny cost of it taking up more room.

Don’t like it? You can easily switch back to the old way: just go into ActiveInbox Preferences and enable Hide the email’s full toolbar until you mouse over it.

ActiveInbox’s Today list is fixed

I owe a huge thank you to Lloyd Neilson and Prabhjot for being the first to let me know about the bug – and in Lloyd’s case, letting me remotely access his computer to try to figure out a solution. 

If you couldn’t click an email in your ActiveInbox Lists, or you couldn’t mark an email as “I need a reply”, then you were affected. 

Essentially there was a huge change under the hood of Gmail – the thunderous earthquake kind that thankfully only happens every few years – and so on Monday I scrambled to fix ActiveInbox to work with it. It kept revealing more and more tiny breakages – I finally finished at 2am on Tuesday – but it’s all sorted now!

New Task button and Focus Mode is back

These were more minor Gmail changes, and they’re fixed now! 

Dates are much easier to read

When you’re scanning any list in Gmail (even non-ActiveInbox ones like the inbox, sent items, search results, etc.), it’ll now show the Due Date clearly next to the email*.

The hope is it gives you more ways to interact with your due dates, outside of the ActiveInbox lists. 

Also, if you are unlucky enough to still be tracking emails from yesteryear, it now shows the year of the due date. 

(* It'll only do this for future due dates you create. If you want to do it for current due dates, you'll have to go into Gmail's Settings, switch to the Labels tab, and make sure your ZD/ labels are set to "Show in Message List")

It’s cleaner to look at

In recent years, I’ve tried two ideas for ActiveInbox that didn’t work out: Relationships (where you set rules about how quickly you want to reply to different people) and Analytics (where it logs how long you spend on different kinds of emails / people). 

In the end, they felt too complex – and I think that made ActiveInbox feel like a harder product than it actually is. 

They’re both going to become new sibling products to ActiveInbox in time. More on that soon! 

For now, they won’t be cluttering up your Gmail anymore.

Getting it now

The latest version is now 7.7.0. 

Chrome will be automatically updating you over the coming days, but if you want it fixed right now, then:

  • Type chrome://extensions into your address bar, and click Enter
  • Enable Developer Mode in the top right
  • Click Update in the top left
  • Refresh Gmail

One more thing…

I redid ActiveInbox’s introduction video. I think it’s always good to revisit these things and make sure you’re getting the full experience!


This was written by Andy Mitchell