How to get Gmail on Desktop for Windows and Mac

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on June 25, 2024, 8 min read

Many email users prefer desktop applications over web apps for email management due to several key benefits. Desktop apps typically offer faster performance, offline access, and an integrated user experience with the operating system.


They allow users to manage multiple email accounts seamlessly, use advanced features, and often provide better security. Despite the absence of an official Gmail desktop app, there are ways to create a similar experience using browser shortcuts or, even better, by using a dedicated email client like Spike, which offers a robust and feature-rich alternative.



Is There an Official Gmail App for Windows or Mac?

No, there is no official Gmail app for any desktop operating system, including Windows or Mac. Google has chosen to focus on a web-based platform for Gmail, which aligns with its broader ‘cloud philosophy.’


This approach ensures that Gmail remains accessible from any device with an internet connection, providing a consistent user experience across all platforms. By prioritizing web access, Google can update and maintain Gmail more efficiently.


This avoids the complexities of developing and supporting separate desktop applications for different operating systems. On Android and iOS, Gmail is available as a native app, though.



Workarounds for Setting Up a Gmail Desktop App

Even without an official Gmail desktop app, there are alternative options for users to set up Gmail on their desktops.



How to Set Up Gmail Desktop App Using a Browser

Follow these steps to create a desktop shortcut for Gmail using different browsers and how to pin them to the macOS Dock or Windows 10/11 Taskbar.


Using Chrome:

  • Open Gmail in Chrome.

  • Click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner.

  • Navigate to “More tools” > “Create shortcut…”.

  • Check “Open as window” and click “Create”

  • Drag the created shortcut to your Mac Dock or Windows Taskbar for easy access.

Using Microsoft Edge:

  • Open Gmail in Edge.

  • Click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner.

  • Select “Apps” > “Install this site as an app”

  • Follow the prompts to install. Pin the new app to your macOS Dock or Windows Taskbar.

Using Safari on macOS:

  • Open Gmail in Safari.

  • Highlight the URL and drag it to your desktop.

  • Right-click the new shortcut and select “Get Info”.

  • Change the desired icon and drag it to your macOS Dock for quick access.

Using Firefox:

  • Open Gmail in Firefox.

  • Click the menu button and select “Save Page As…” to save Gmail as a shortcut.

  • Adjust settings to open it as a standalone window.

  • Drag the shortcut to your macOS Dock or Windows Taskbar.



Limitations of Browser Gmail App Shortcuts

  1. Lack of Enhanced Features:

    Depending on which browser you use, the shortcuts do not may offer offline access, desktop notifications, or integration with other desktop applications for drag-and-drop use cases.

  2. Basic Functionality:

    They are essentially just clickable shortcuts, not fully functional desktop applications, limiting the user experience compared to dedicated apps. It’s essentially a web app wrapper.


Using these workarounds allows you to enjoy the convenience of quick access to Gmail from your desktop, though with some limitations. Consider using a dedicated email client like Spike for a more robust solution.



Using IMAP to Access Gmail on the Desktop

Despite the absence of an official desktop app, Google allows users to access Gmail on the desktop via IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). IMAP lets users sync their Gmail account with various email clients, such as Spike, Outlook, Apple Mail, or any other desktop client.


This method provides a more integrated and feature-rich experience on the desktop, allowing users to manage their Gmail account alongside other email accounts within their preferred email client.



The Ideal Alternative: Spike’s Email App


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Spike is an ideal solution for Gmail users who want to access their inbox with a desktop application. Spike is a powerful email client designed to transform email communication by turning emails into chat-like conversations.


It combines emails, chat, and collaboration tools into a single interface. If you love WhatsApp and iMessage, you’ll LOVE Spike.


Compatibility with Gmail

Spike easily integrates with Gmail, allowing users to manage their Gmail accounts within Spike’s email app without creating a new account.


Desktop Application for Windows and Mac

Spike offers dedicated desktop applications for both Windows and Mac, ensuring a consistent and optimized experience across platforms. It works great on mobile devices as well!


Free to Use with Existing Gmail Accounts

Users can link their existing Gmail accounts to Spike for free, enjoying all the benefits of a desktop application without any additional cost.


Enhanced Features

  • Integrated Calendar:

    Manage your schedule without leaving your inbox.

  • Task Management:

    Create and manage tasks directly from your email inbox.

  • Real-Time Team Chat:

    Communicate instantly with contacts as if using a chat app.

  • Collaborative Notes:

    Share and collaborate on notes with team members.

How to Download and Install Spike

  • Visit the Spike website.

  • Click on “Get Started for Free” and select the appropriate version for your use case.

  • Follow the installation prompts to install Spike on your computer.

How to Link a Gmail Account with Spike

  • Open Spike after downloading and installing. .

  • Click on “Add Account” and type in your Gmail account information.

  • Follow the prompts to log in to your Gmail account and grant the necessary permissions.

  • Your Gmail account will now be useable within Spike

How to Customize the Interface and Settings for Optimal Use

  • Enable Priority Inbox:

    Spike’s Priority Inbox sorts less important emails, like newsletters and promotional offers, into a separate ‘Other’ Inbox, streamlining your email management and allowing you to focus on what matters.

  • Use Super Search:

    Find files instantly using Spike’s advanced email search. Easily locate attachments by keyword, subject, or sender. Apply filters for precise results—by person, tag, keyword, or file type.

  • Shortcuts and Integrations:

    Explore Spike’s keyboard shortcuts and integrate other productivity tools you use frequently.

  • Use Magic AI:

    Finally, a faster way to respond to your overflowing inbox. An AI generator that creates flawless email replies with AI prompts that are always in the right context. Win back your time to work on important tasks with Spike’s Magic AI email generator.


Using Spike’s email app, Gmail users can enjoy a desktop application with enhanced features, improved productivity, and a seamless user experience.



Wrap up

While there is no official Gmail desktop app, various workarounds like browser shortcuts can provide partial solutions but come with limitations such as lack of offline access and integration. For a fully functional and feature-rich experience, Spike is the best alternative.


It offers seamless Gmail integration, enhanced productivity tools, and a user-friendly interface on both Windows and Mac.


Try Spike today to transform your email inbox and boost your productivity. Download Spike and experience the difference it can make! You’ll turn your email experience into something you love vs something you dread!


No, Google has not released an official Gmail desktop app for any operating system. Gmail is primarily designed to be accessed through web browsers.

Google’s ‘cloud philosophy’ emphasizes web-based applications to ensure consistent updates, cross-platform compatibility, and efficient resource allocation.

Yes, you can create a browser shortcut to access Gmail like a desktop app using browsers like Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox.

Yes, browser shortcuts lack enhanced features such as offline access, notifications, and integration with other desktop applications. They are essentially just clickable shortcuts.

Spike is an email client that integrates with Gmail, offering desktop applications for Windows and Mac. It provides enhanced features like a unified inbox, integrated calendar, task management, real-time chat, and collaborative notes.

Spike offers a fully functional desktop application experience with enhanced features, improved productivity, and a seamless user interface, making it a superior alternative to basic browser shortcuts.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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