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I'm wondering how it's possible to remove the little mail indicator applet in the global menu. I've uninstalled all the programs that use it, like Thunderbird, Empathy, and Gwibber, since I don't use any of them, but the icon is still there.

Any ideas?

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10 Answers 10

up vote 70 down vote accepted

You can remove the message indicator by removing the indicator-messages Install indicator-messages package by clicking on that link and clicking uninstall. Or by executing the following command in a terminal:

sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages

Then log out and back in.

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@When I did that, this icon disappeared. However, it caused some bugs to emerge - clock/calendar is dissappearing from time to time and sometimes programs menu bar integrated with top bar is not working properly. Any idea why? – Rafal Oct 25 '13 at 10:20
No need to logout just run killall unity-panel-service – desgua Apr 28 '14 at 12:27
Why uninstall a package used by multiple programs when you can just disable the Thunderbird addon? – Ian Dunn Apr 25 '15 at 7:04
@IanDunn because many people, like the person who asked the original question, don't use any of the multiple programs that use indicator-messages. – Michael Martin-Smucker May 4 '15 at 5:48
I have to agree with @IanDunn, the least intrusive method should be used. Naive users dont understand how heavy of an impact removing certain services might have, so simply disabling the icon, rather than removing the entire service, would be the better suggestion. You can then supplement your answer by suggesting the removal of the service/app. – Todd Dec 2 '15 at 0:00

If Thunderbird Mail is installed and is the default mail application in system settings->Details: then start Thunderbird, go to menu->Add-ons->Extensions and disable Thunderbird extension "Messaging Menu and Unity Launcher integration". Quit Thunderbird. Logout and Login to ubuntu.

This solved it on ubuntu 14.04 LTS without the need to uninstall anything.

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Thanks a lot. I was searching for that option earlier under preferences. – Zack Titan Mar 27 '15 at 15:43
I can confirm this works as of 16.12.2015 on Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS 64-bit. – Vesnog Dec 16 '15 at 20:48
In my machine I had to go to menu->Tools->Add-ons->Extensions – morhook Jun 29 at 18:03

Remove the package indicator-messages from within the Ubuntu Software Center.

Then reboot, gone!

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I couldn't find it in the Software Center, so I did a sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages, log out and log in. The icon is now gone. – Thierry Lam Oct 22 '11 at 13:54
for more advanced package management install synaptic from USS.. – sarveshlad Oct 22 '11 at 20:29
You shouldn't need to reboot. – lfaraone Jul 7 '13 at 21:41
No need to logout or reboot just run killall unity-panel-service – insign Nov 30 '14 at 3:41

This instruction will not remove the sound icon on Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise)

The program can be uninstalled from your system by opening the program "terminal", and typing in

sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages -y

It will ask you for your password, and then it will remove the program from your system.

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On 12.04 (precise):

sudo apt-get remove -y indicator-messages
killall indicator-messages-service
killall unity-panel-service
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Works good in 14.04 under gnome-fallback – Зелёный Jul 23 '15 at 13:19

this works in the gnome shell for 11.04, not sure about Unity interface:

open synaptic + remove "indicator-messages" + log out and log back in

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I really don't know how to "open synaptic".... – George Bailey May 25 '11 at 17:57
@George: if you use Unity: open the Dash (click on the ubuntu symbol in the top left corner), start typing 'synaptic', and click on 'synaptic package manager'. – joris May 25 '11 at 18:47
@joris: Is this permanent? I don't want to get rid of it if there is no way to get it back. – George Bailey May 25 '11 at 21:17
@GeorgeBailey If you want it back you just install that package again (which would require the CD or another way to transfer the package's installation data to the machine since there's no internet). – htorque May 25 '11 at 22:00

There is a word of caution for removing the e-mail icon. You will also loose the Sound Control icon as both are connected to each-other. By removing the "indicator applet" package you will no longer be able to access or control the sound settings by clicking on the panel icon.

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That is why you remove indicator-messages and not indicator as a whole. – Valentin Klinghammer Feb 18 '13 at 10:11

1) In a terminal:

sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages
sudo killall gnome-panel

This will remove the package, and then remove the icon without rebooting.

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On Ubuntu 10.10 or earlier versions click with right mouse button on the icon and click on Remove From Panel

On Ubuntu 11.04 (Unity) click with right mouse button on the icon and click on Keep In Launcher Removing icons on Ubuntu 11.04 Classic works the same as on Ubuntu 10.10

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You just have to change the extension on the file. See here:

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Oooff, messing with files like that is a horrible idea. Other applications might be using the .so, and the .so might change from version to version. – MarkovCh1 Jun 3 '12 at 20:31

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