Easy Gmail Setup for Mac & Android to Create a Desktop Shortcut

With over 1.8 billion users, Gmail has over 40% of the email market. If you haven’t already signed up for a Gmail account, you can get started now.

Learn how to sign up to Gmail; install it on your computer, tablet or phone and create a Gmail shortcut on your desktop.

Adding a shortcut is different depending on whether you use Mac and Windows.

  • Windows A Gmail shortcut opens Gmail in your default browser
  • Mac/Apple A Gmail shortcut opens a Gmail only window through the Chrome browswer

How to Create a Gmail Shortcut on Windows or Android

On a Windows desktop

  • Right click on a blank space anywhere on the desktop screen
  • Point to New and choose > Shortcut
  • Choose https://mail.google.com as the location
  • Name your shortcut > My Gmail for example
  • Click Finish
  • Clicking on the icon will open Gmail in your default browser

On an Android Tablet or Phone

  • Install the Gmail app or configure the Mail app
  • Either app icon will appear on screen as a shortcut

How to Create a Gmail Shortcut on Mac or iOS

On a Mac desktop

If you don’t already have it installed, you’ll need to download and install the Chrome browser to set up your Gmail shortcut on a Mac desktop.

Download and Install Chrome browser instructions.

Once it’s downloaded you’ll see this window on your desktop.

Drag the Chrome app onto the blue App folder

Drag the Chrome app icon onto the blue Applications folder.

Then look in your Applications folder to find the Google Chrome installer and double click it to start the installation. You’ll see this message. Click Open.

You’ll see a security message – click Open

Once the installation is complete, the window below will pop up.

You don’t have to choose either option right now. Just click Start Google Chrome.

When you see the Chrome welcome screen, click on Sign In to sign into your Gmail account. (See how to set up a Gmail account below)

  • In the upper right hand corner click on the 3 vertical dots
  • A dropdown menu will open, go to More Tools > Create Shortcut
  • A Create Shortcut? window will open with Gmail pre-filled in as the name. Click on the blue Create button
  • A new window will open showing your new Gmail.app shortcut has been filed inside the Chrome folder
  • But you need it on the desktop not inside a folder, so with the desktop window open like this, drag the Gmail.app icon down over Desktop (circled) so the Gmail shortcut appears on your desktop as above.
  • The Gmail icon should now appear on your desktop like this
  • Double click to open Gmail

Create Shortcut on an iPad or iPhone

  • Download the Gmail.app from the App store or configure the default Mail app

If you don’t have a Gmail account set up here’s a step by step to set one up.

How to Set Up a Gmail Account

The first step to create a Gmail account is to sign up for a Google account. If you’ve already used other Google products like Youtube, Google Drive (online file creation and storage) and Google Play (app store) you may already have created a Google account.

It’s free to set up and use a Google and Gmail account.

Use this link to create a new account on Google. After you’ve gone through each step and created an account, you’ll use that account to sign in to Gmail. 

It can be a little tricky to get the exact email address you want as your name may have already been taken. Google also won’t let you choose a name that’s too much like an existing email or one that’s been used in the past even if it’s been deleted.

Once you’ve set up a Gmail address, you’ll use it to sign into every Google service, from Gmail to Youtube. Sign into Gmail here

How to Setup Gmail on a Mac or PC Desktop

Once you’ve created a Gmail account, bookmark the page as a Favorite to make it easy to check mail. 

Once you’ve signed into Gmail with your email and password, your browser will recognize you on the next sign in and you won’t have to enter your email and password again.

However if you have cookies disabled or you’ve signed out of Gmail, the browser may not remember your details and you may have to re-enter them.

Having cookies disabled isn’t typical but you can check your browser settings for this under Preferences > Privacy

Once you’ve signed out of your Gmail account, you’ll need to sign back in. For example, if you’re on the Google search page, sign in by clicking on the top right icon Gmail.

If you don’t want anyone else to read your emails, or if you’ve been using a public computer, be sure to sign out when you’re finished. You can do this by going to your photo in the top right corner of the Gmail screen. click it then click Sign out.

How do you get a photo of yourself to appear in Gmail?

Click on the Settings gear icon next to the ? symbol then click > See All Settings.

Scroll down to the General (far left tab)

Find My Picture under General Settings

Then Scroll down to My Picture then click on About Me to add your photo.
You can also update your personal profile info and photo from your Google Account page here.

Want to set up a custom email signature? Here’s how to do that.

How to Setup Gmail on an iPhone or iPad

To log into your Gmail account on an iPhone or iPad, you can either set up the default Mail app with your Gmail account or download the Gmail app from the App Store.

To Set Up Mail app

  • On your iPhone go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts
  • Tap Add Account then Other,
  • Then tap Add Mail Account
  • Enter the name used for the email account, your email address, the password you use to login.
  • Under Description, name your Email account (default is the email address)
  • Then tap Next and Mail will find your email account. Once your account is setup tap Done to finish.

Add Email account to iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch instructions from Apple.

To setup the Gmail.app

  • Go to the App Store app on your phone or iPad
  • Search for Gmail, when you’ve found the app, tap Install.
  • Follow the instructions to set up your Gmail email and password.

How to Setup Gmail on Android Phone or Tablet

To log into Gmail on your Android or Samsung Phone or Tablet, either set up the default Mail app with your Gmail account or download the Gmail app from the Google Play Store.

Setting up the default Mail app

  • On Android go to Settings > Cloud & Accounts (or Accounts & Sync).
  • Tap on Accounts. You’ll see any other email accounts you have set up such as Yahoo. 
  • Tap on + Account then tap the Google icon
  • You’ll see this Sign in screen > Add email then hit Next
  • You’ll be prompted to enter your Password then hit Next
  • Your Gmail account will now be added to the Accounts 
  • Go to the Mail app and check your mail.

Setting up the Gmail app

First go to the Google Play Store app on your phone or tablet and search for Gmail.app. When you’ve found the app, tap Install. Follow the instructions to set up your Gmail email and password.

That’s it! You’re ready to start using Gmail on all your devices and it’s easy to add the shortcut to your desktop for lighting quick access to all your emails!

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