How To Make Gmail Your Default Email Client

obr2By Davis Porter — Last Updated: 28 Feb'18 2016-06-08T17:55:55+00:00

Isn’t it frustrating whenever a mailto link is inadvertently clicked, you end up getting redirected to the OS’s default email app (like Outlook), that’s not connected to your email account in any way? Personally, I’ve been a victim of this system quite a bit, and I hate having to log in repeatedly into my Gmail account every time to send an email.

I needed to make Gmail my default email client whenever I clicked on such a link. My only worry then was that Gmail would only be compatible with native applications like Chrome, and fail to work on Firefox (which is still my default web browser) or Internet Explorer.

Fortunately for you and me, as a company with more than a billion active email users, Google has to make Gmail compatible with every big name browser out there. So worry not, if your preferred cup of tea is Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari–this guide’s got you covered all the way.

To get started you’ll need a Gmail account and any of the above mentioned browsers. So, how did I make Gmail my default email client? Let’s find out.

How To Make Gmail My Default Email Client on Safari

Step 1: Begin by downloading Safari’s Mailto extension for Google here. Go to the settings icon on the top right corner of Safari’s Window, scroll down to Downloads, and double-click on the extension file you just downloaded.

Step 2: Choose the Install option from the appearing prompt.

Step 3: Choose Gmail from the list of email clients displayed, by clicking on the checkbox.

Step 4: Finally, restart Safari and you’re good to go! Gmail will automatically set itself as the default email client.

How To Make Gmail My Default Email Client on Internet Explorer

Step 1: Just like Safari, first download Internet Explorer’s Toolbar for Google here. Upon completing the download, Internet Explorer will immediately display an installation window. Click Run to download installation files and subsequently install the toolbar.

Step 2: On the screen’s top right corner, click on the wrench icon to display Internet Explorer’s Toolbars window.

Step 3: On the General Tab, scroll down to the Web-browsing tools section and click on the Use Gmail for Mail To Links checkbox.

Step 4: Click Save and you’re all set to use Gmail as a default email client on Internet Explorer.

How To Make Gmail My Default Email Client on Mozilla Firefox

Step 1: Click on the Firefox menu button on the top right (or left, depending on the version) corner of your browser’s window.

Step 2: Click on Options to open the Firefox settings window then scroll down a bit and click on the Applications tab.

Step 3: In the search bar, type “mailto” to display the default mail client. Click on the drop-down arrow right next to the default email client, on the Action column, then scroll and click on Use Gmail to set it as the default email client.

Step 4: Close the Options tab and you’re good to go!

How To Make Gmail My Default Email Client on Google Chrome

Step 1: Go to and log into your email account. Depending on Chrome’s version, you should see a Protocol Handler icon at the far right of the address bar (If you don’t, skip step 2 and go straight to step 3).

Step 2: If you’re not prompted to Allow Gmail ( to open all email links, click on the Protocol Handler to display the options available. Click on the Use Gmail checkbox, then Done. It’s as simple as that! Skip steps 3, 4, and 5 and you’re all set.

Step 3: Now if the Protocol Handler icon is hidden, proceed to the browser’s top right corner and click on the menu icon. Select settings to display the Settings window

Step 4: Scroll down to the Show Advanced Settings option, located at the bottom of your screen, click on it and proceed straight to the Content Settings option.

Step 5: Find the Handlers section by scrolling down the popup window, click on it, then select the Manage Handlers option. On the mailto drop-down menu that appears, choose Gmail and click done.


As you can see, the effort to make Gmail my default email client was pretty minimal, it’s a simple and straightforward process on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. However, since these browsers are constantly getting updates (well, maybe not Explorer), some of these procedures may become altered in the future.

In the case of any difficulties with instructions provided here, feel free to drop a question or two in the comments section. We also welcome additional pointers on how to make Gmail a default email client in other browsing applications, so feel free to start a conversation below.

3 thoughts on “How To Make Gmail Your Default Email Client”

  1. When I click on the Handlers setting, the only option I have is to ‘Allow sites to ask to become default handlers for protocols’ – I can either turn this option on or off. That’s all I see.

    1. We have the same issue in our organisation: On some Chrome browsers, the only option under Handlers is “Allow sites to ask to become default handlers…”.

      This is broken.

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