How To Set or Remove Gmail as Your Default Email Link Handler

I’ve been waiting for this feature for a long time. Now when you click an email hyperlink while browsing with Chrome you can set it to automatically compose a new message from the Gmail web interface. Whether you want to set it up or disable it, you can find the instructions here.

In a recent update to Chrome, Google enabled a new website handler feature. You might have noticed the permissions button that now appears whenever you log in to Gmail using Chrome. If enabled, Gmail will automatically open and compose a new email message addressed to the email you click on while browsing the web. If you’ve enabled it and want to undo that, follow the instructions below.

Click email links and automatically compose a new message in Gmail

Enable Gmail as Chrome’s Email Link Handler

Log in to Gmail using Chrome version 18.0.1025.45 or later. At the top of the page you should see a permissions bar asking for permission to “Allow Gmail ( to open all email links?”  click Use Gmail.

use gmail as your default email link handler

Remove Gmail as your email link handler in Chrome

Open Google Chrome and click the Options (wrench) button at the top-right of the browser.  From the drop-down list select Settings.

chrome wrench > settings

Navigate to the Under the Hood tab and click the Content settings… button.

under the hood > content settings

Scroll down to the Content Settings list and click the Manage handlers… button.

manage handlers in chrome

All of your active (installed) protocol handlers will be listed on this page. Click the “remove this site” on the mailto handler to remove Gmail as your email link handler. Once removed, your system will revert back to opening email links in whatever default program you have assigned it.

gmail protocol handler



  1. Kyle

    I stupidly clicked to allow Gmail be the main content handler without thinking what I was doing.

    I have now removed Gmail a a content handler but now the mailto: links won’t open in my email app (mac and there seems to be no way to set this.

    Do you have any suggestions?


    • Rob

      I am having the same issue as Kyle. Please let me know if you find a solution.

    • rob


      I found the answer to your Mac problem.. I was having the same issue. Here is what you do:

      Go to Mac Mail > preferences> General > Default Email Reader. Select the dropdown and reset it to (4.5)…..

      You should be back in business. Also, Google, I believe, was evil and automatically set this up with its “reset”……I’m leaving Chome and switching back to Firefox…I no longer TRUST Google–they want your privacy to be removed and are making no bones about it in the media these days…..I hope this helps. Rob

      • Ben


      • Jess

        Thanks for sorting this. Weird how chrome nominated itself one day as I certainly did not change it.

  2. Matthew

    Thank you!! Very Helpful! Hate how google did that automatically

  3. Martin

    Great, thanks! This has been bugging me for a week or so. Now email links open Outlook like they should.

  4. Bill

    I too stupidly clicked to allow Gmail to handle links.

    I removed the permission according to these instructions but now when I click on an email link instead of opening a new message in Outlook as it did, it just goes to chrome on whatever page I was on. If Chrome is shut clicking on an email address opens to my home page.

    Any help?


  5. Mel

    I am on win7 and did the chrome mail handler removal, but now, mailto: hyperlinks don’t do squat. anyone know how to revert back to Windows live mail client as it was the previous default. I am assuming something in the registry needs to be modified as well, but not a big windooze expert here

  6. Mister Buggles

    Finally figured it out. Downloaded Mozilla Thunderbird email program and let it be the default. Closed it out. Opened up my preferred email program and it asked if I would like it to be default… Yes. All fixed.

  7. Hans

    I am very satisfied with the way google handels my things.
    There is just one thing that I do NOT appreciate: the sent on behalf.

    I have 5 different mailaddresses, and gmail is my mailapp.

    Since some time, mails are sent by on behalf of
    I would rather send my mails from the account that I have chosen in the top of my mail.

    Anybody any idea how to achieve that?

    Thanks, Hans

  8. Bev


    what about gmail w/out chrome?

    • Hans

      Thx for your reply. Maybe that will do the job, but I am very satisfied with chrome, it is absolutely the fastest and most handy browser.

  9. Jacqui

    THANK YOU so much for this. One day Chrome just started doing this and I was going crazy trying to figure out how to fix it. Thank you thank you thank you.

  10. Kate

    Hi, I want to make Gmail a default mail client, but in past I probably click No to the question
    “Allow Gmail ( to open all email links?” . How can I now change it?

    Thanks Kate

  11. James LaBarre

    Trying your instructions with Chrome 22.0. There is no such thing as a “Under the Hood” section in the settings. In fact, not much of anything in the settings looks like your screen shots. So the instructions no longer work, apparently. Need to find someone with *current* instructions.

  12. DJ BiGiCE ...

    Very easy change… I’m sorry we tested only in Mac OS X :)
    Go to Mail application – Preferences – General – Default email reader – choose what you want… and after restart the Google Chrome. YUPIIIII :))

    • THX

      I’m having the same issue as Kate. I *want* to add gmail as the default in Chrome but in the past clicked ‘no’. How do I get it to ask again or otherwise add the handler Chrome?

  13. Jean

    Where are you when you go to Mail Application? In other words, where do you start from? Thanks.

  14. Nitin

    Awesome! Thanks!

  15. Johny Why

    hi, are these instructions still valid? i don’t see “under the hood” in chrome settings. Is it necessary to go into the ‘advanced’ section?


  16. Micky

    I don’t have Chrome installed and Gmail opens instead of Thunderbird when clicking an email address. I am using Linux Mint Cinnamon.

  17. Bruce

    Thank you – your tip worked.

  18. DaveM

    This isn’t the case on my W10 version of Chrome v62.0……blah…. There is no ‘Under The Hood’ tab.

  19. DaveM

    Sorry, I just posted but to answer my question (I hope). I changed the mailto client via the Windows control panel functions:

    Control Panel\Programs\Default Programs\Set Default Programs\Set Program Associations


  20. Michael Rosen

    I don’t have an under the hood option in settings.

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