How to use Shortwave email – January 2024

Shockwave Email Poster

There are a ton of different email clients out there, but there’s a new one on the scene that has an interesting (and familiar) hook to it. It’s called Shortwave, and it’s a platform that could transform how you think about emails. Here’s a useful guide on how to use Shortwave and what it’s all about.

What is Shortwave?

Back in 2014, Google brought an app called Inbox, and this app had an interesting take on email. Inbox took emails and bundled them into groups, which created a much cleaner interface. It was a popular platform, but this is a Google product we’re talking about. It was bound to be discontinued prematurely, and that’s what happened. About five years after it came, the company brought down the ax.

Well, an ex-Google employee started working on the platform’s spiritual successor. Shortwave is an application that takes the core functionality brought by Inbox and brings it back. Just like Inbox, emails from the same source are automatically grouped into bundles.

Say, if you get several emails from Reddit about posts and comments. Normally, you’ll see these emails scattered throughout your inbox. With Shortwave, all of those emails will be grouped into a bundle. The bundle takes up as much space as a single email. When you tap on the bundle, it’ll expand so that you can access each of the emails individually.

Getting the program

So, if you’re tired of the chronological email feed, then you should give this app a try. It’s been in beta testing for a year and a half, but it’s out to be used by the public.

Get the app

Ok, so Shortwave is now available on the Google Play Store, iOS App Store, and on your computer. Choose the link below to download the app on your preferred platform.

Getting it on Desktop

There’s no official desktop application for Shortwave. So, if you want to use it on the computer, you’ll have to use the website. However, if you want to install it on your desktop, it’s easy to do so. Just know that this is only supported on Chromium-based browsers. These include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and more.

So, you will not be able to install it if you use Firefox or Apple’s Safari. First, follow the link below:

This will take you to the desktop website. Sign in with your Gmail account. When you do that, you’ll be taken to your inbox. Look up at the address bar near the right side of the browser. you’ll see the option to install the app onto your desktop. On Chrome, it will look like a little computer monitor with a downward-pointing arrow. In Edge, it will look like a square with a “+” symbol.

When you click on it, the browser will ask you to confirm this information. After that, you’ll see the Shortwave icon on your desktop. Clicking on it will open a mini browser that will display only the Shortwave website.

How to use Shortwave

When you open the app, you’ll be greeted with your main inbox. By default, all emails from the same source will be grouped into bundles. You’ll see how many emails are in a bundle right next to the sender’s name. Tapping on the bundle will open a new page with all of the emails displayed.

Using bundles

The bundles are a pretty big part of the whole experience. They help make the interface less cluttered and easier to navigate. As stated before, the emails come bundled automatically.

The name of the bundle will be set to the name of the source. If you want to rename the bundle, it’s easy to do. Unfortunately, you’re not able to change the name using the mobile app. You’ll need to use the desktop version.

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Tap on the bundle and tap on the three-dot menu on the top of the screen. In the resulting menu, tap on the Add Note button. When you look at the Bundle’s name, it will be replaced with the text “Add Note”. Go back to your inbox and click on that text. It will be a text field that will allow you to type in your own name.

If Shortwave bundled emails that you don’t want to be bundled, you can unbundle them. Go back to the three-dot menu and tap on the Unbundle button. This will ungroup these emails and each one will go to their chronological spot in your feed.

If you change your mind, or you unbundle the emails by accident, you can re-bundle them by tapping on the Undo button in the popup that appears at the bottom of the screen.

Pinning emails/bundles

If there’s a bundle or conversation that you want to display above the rest, you can simply pin it. Tap on the email conversation or bundle you want to pin. At the top right of the UI, you’ll see different actions that you can do for the email. You’ll see a thumbtack icon; tap on it.

This will pin the bundle or email conversation to the top of your feed. The emails will stay at the top of the feed even if you get new emails. You can pin multiple emails to the top of your feed, and they’ll occupy their own section above the feed.

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For an even quicker way, simply swipe left on the email or bundle you want to pin. You’ll see a blue pin icon appear. Let go to pin the conversation, just be sure not to pull too far because you’ll eventually, you’ll snooze the email.

To unpin a conversation, just swipe left on it to reverse. If you’re in the conversation, tap on the pin icon on the top right of the UI.

Snoozing conversations

If there’s an email that you want to get to later, but you don’t want to forget about it, you can snooze it. This will hide the email until a designated time and then resend a notification when the time comes.

To snooze a conversation, tap on it. On the top right of the UI, right next to the Pin icon, you’ll see a clock icon. Tapping on that icon will bring up a little popup window with some options for how long to snooze your email. If one of them appeals to you, just tap on it. If not, then tap on the Pick a time option. This option will let you choose the date and time that you want to snooze the email until.

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A quick way to snooze an email is to swipe left on a conversation until your finger reaches the edge of the screen. You’ll see the pin icon first then you’ll see the clock icon.

Sending and replying to emails

Shortwave offers an easy and straightforward interface for sending and replying to emails. On the mobile version, you’ll see the Compose button on the bottom bar right next to the search button. The screen will turn into the composer where you’ll be able to enter the recipient, subject, and the contents of your message.

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On the desktop version, you’ll see the Compose button on the top left of the interface. It’s the pencil icon right under your profile picture. You’ll see a message composer open up on the bottom left of the screen.

When it comes to replying to messages, Shortwave almost resembles a messaging app more than an email app. Tap on the email that you want to reply to and, on the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the text field. tap on it and you’ll see a simple reply UI pop up.


In Shortwave, there are a ton of settings that you can use to customize your experience. To access your settings, tap on your profile picture on the bottom left of the screen. On the resulting screen, you’ll see the Settings button on the bottom. On the resulting page, you’ll see all of the categories that you can search through. We’ll go through the more notable settings. You can look through the settings to see the full list.

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You’re able to change the system of the app. This will let you choose between light mode and dark mode.

A setting will let you reverse the inbox swipe gestures. You swipe left to pin emails and snooze them; you swipe right to mark them as done and delete them. This option will reverse this.

Remember the popup you get when you’re trying to snooze a conversation? The popup has preset options for how long you want to snooze your emails. Well, there’s a setting that will let you customize those presets.

If there are people sending you too many emails, you can block different senders. Lastly, you can choose which inboxes you want to be displayed.

With that, you know what you need to know about this new and useful email client.

Using the AI text generator

A neat addition to Shortwave is the AI text feature. This feature uses generative AI to draft emails for you based on your text input. At the moment, you can only access this feature on the web version of the platform.

To use this feature, start drafting a message or replying to a message. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a little Write with AI button. When you click on it, you’ll see a panel slide in from the right of the screen. This is where you’ll generate your text.

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At the bottom of the screen, type your query. Describe what kind of email you want to be crafted. Feel free to be descriptive. Once you’re finished, click on the little Send button on the right of the text field. When you do that, you’ll see the text being generated up top.

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Since this is generative AI, you’ll be able to give it suggestions based on your preferences. Once you’re finished refining your email, click on the Insert into new email button at the bottom of the generated text. Also, you can click on the copy button to copy it to your clipboard.


This feature is free to use if you’re on the web version, but you’re using the light version of the tool. If you want more features like the ability to use this tool on mobile, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid Shortwave payment tier. The cheapest one will cost you $7/month.

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