Inbox by Gmail is officially dead. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be resurrected in a roundabout manner. Yes, you heard that right, at the moment you can still use Inbox simply by using an older version. Alternatively, if you’re confident enough (and rooted) you may be able to extend the lifespan of Inbox even further.
The last updated version of Inbox was version number 1.78 and was released in October 2018. Since we’ve seen the service finally get yanked from its life support, anyone who tries to launch the application on this version will simply get a splash screen saying: “this app is no longer available”. The app then prompts you to download Gmail instead.
As for the simple method, which involves installing an older version, this was unearthed by a few hardware Inbox fans on the /r/Android community who are committed to the email application (via Android Police). Having downloaded an older version (v1.76 to be precise) of Inbox to several devices, I have since been able to log in and use the application with zero issues or lockouts.
We don’t expect this little loophole to stay open forever — and reporting on it probably won’t help — but this might be a slight reprieve until you can find a solid replacement for Inbox. So until this stops working, fill your boots and enjoy Inbox for a little while longer.
You will need to head off into the sometimes murky world of APK downloads from third-party sites, so be warned. Although my version is from the typically wonderful APK Mirror, you can download that here.
As for a potential longer-term solution, you will need a rooted device. XDA-Developers found that after digging into the APK source code, the Android app simply locks you out now that midnight of the April 2 (GMT) has passed.
All it does to lock you out is check the system time to see if it has passed midnight on April 2. You can easily bypass this by changing the date and time within your System Settings, but that causes tons of issues with any other apps you have installed on your device — plus it’s a big pain if it keeps resetting.
Using root you can set a timer flag to essentially bypass the timer lock set in place by Inbox that forces you to Gmail. You’ll need to run the following shell command to get it working:
su am start -n "com.google.android.apps.inbox/com.google.android.apps.bigtop.activities.SwitchActivity" --ez "countDown" true
When you relaunch Inbox, you’ll be greeted with a splash screen, simply press “not now” and you should be able to continue using the app as your normally would. It’s also worth noting that even this method isn’t foolproof. A fresh launch of Inbox will cause it to lock you out, so XDA’s Mishaal Rahman has created a Tasker app that sends the command for you each time to enable access. Simply click here to download it.
Like the simple APK download method, there are no guarantees when this loophole could be closed. It should hopefully keep you happy until a solid Inbox replacement comes along. Although that said, Spark for Android might be the option you’re looking for.
If you’re still adamant that you will be using Inbox, let us know in the comments section below. As someone who loved it for a little while, but ended up switching back to Gmail, it’s amazing to hear the love for a relatively simple email app.
More on Inbox:
- This Chrome extension brings the look of Inbox over to Gmail
- As Inbox dies, here are the best features that still haven’t made it to Gmail
- Inbox by Gmail officially shuts down on April 2nd, 2019