How to Send or Redirect Email to Your Primary Gmail Inbox

Have you waited for an email to arrive in your Primary Gmail inbox, but it never appeared? Gmail has multiple inboxes, or tabbed inboxes, and your email may have been delivered to your Social, Promotions, Updates, or Forums tab instead. Gmail usually does a good job sorting your email into these different categories, but sometimes gets it wrong. Don't worry; you can not only move your email to the correct Gmail inbox, but make sure that emails from that sender are directed to your Primary Gmail inbox in the future. Here's how to move an email between Gmail categories and redirect future emails from that sender to your Primary email inbox.

Related: How to Change Your Default Gmail Account

How to Move an Email from Promotions (or Another Tab) to the Primary Gmail Inbox

We've already shown you how to add multiple Gmail accounts to your iPhone or iPad, and how to change your default Gmail account. You'll find more great tutorials about how to navigate your email on your iPhone in our free Tip of the Day. Now, to correct the issue of email being sent to the wrong Gmail inbox. To begin with, you'll need to move the email to your Primary Gmail inbox. Next, you'll need to make sure emails from that sender automatically go to your Primary inbox in the future. You can accomplish this whole process from your laptop or desktop, and you must to do the second part from your desktop or laptop, as you won't find the necessary Gmail settings in the Gmail app or on the mobile website. To start:

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How to Move an Email to the Primary Gmail Inbox & Add a Filter from Your Desktop or Laptop

Let's go over how to move an email from Promotions or another Gmail inbox to your Primary Gmail inbox and create a filter to send all email from that sender to your Primary inbox in future. 

  1. Go to and sign in if you haven't already.
  2. Click the Promotions, Updates, Forums, or Social tab, whichever contains the email you want to move.
  3. Open the email you want to move and click the three vertical dots to the right of the sender and date.

    tap the three dots for filtering options
  4. Click Filter messages like this.

    click create filter from the drop down menu
  5. Click Categorize as, click Primary, then click Create filter.

    create filter for email in gmail

How to Move an Email from Promotions (or Another Tab) to the Primary Gmail Inbox on Your iPhone

If you'd like to move an email from Promotions or another Gmail tab straight from your iPhone, you can, but you won't be able to create a filter from your iPhone. The settings you need to create a filter aren't present in the mobile Gmail site, and although it's possible to change the view of some websites from mobile to desktop on your iPhone, this doesn't work with Gmail. To begin:

  1. Open the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the three bars at the upper-left corner of the screen.

    gmail apptap the three bars at the upper left corner
  3. Tap SocialPromotions, or whichever category contains the email you'd like to move.
  4. Open the email you'd like to move, then tap the three dots at the upper-right corner of the screen.

    tap the gmail category you want to opentap the three dots to the right of the envelope icon
  5. Tap Move to.
  6. Tap Primary.

    tap movetap primary
  7. Your email will be moved to the Primary Gmail inbox. 
  8. Now, go to and sign in if you haven't already.
  9. Tap the gear icon, then tap See all settings.

    gmail settings gear icon
  10. Tap Filters and Blocked Addresses.

    tap filters and blocked addresses
  11. Tap Create a new filter.

    tap create a new filter
  12. Enter the sender's name or email address in the From field, and make sure your Gmail address is correct in the To field, then tap Create filter

    tap create filter
  13. Tap Categorize as, then tap Primary, then tap Create filter.

    choose where to send email from specific sender

Now, all emails from the address you created a filter for will be sent to the Primary tab in your Gmail inbox.

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.