I'm trying to change the Preferred Application for email. I have installed the package desktop-webmail, but there is no new option under System - Preferences - Preferred Application as you would expect, infact, there is only one option there, only Evolution.

According to this post it should be possible to set a custom application, but no option is available.

Is it possible to setup GMail as Preferred email app so that File -> Send by email works in gnome apps?

This seems to be a dup of another post here, Thing is that this works fine in 10.10, but in 11.04 this method no longer work. My post above is meant for 11.04 and the question is still valid.

  • Regarding the 1st part: did you do a sudo update-alternatives --config mail-client to see if it is then added? I know I needed to do that to have Opera show under browsers.
    – Rinzwind
    May 4, 2011 at 12:39
  • The geek page that is used in your link (howtogeek.com/howto/ubuntu/…) works for me!
    – Rinzwind
    May 4, 2011 at 13:00
  • @jorge & @Rinzwind, I checked in 10.10 and works fine there. I therefore retagged this issue to 11.04 which is the version I have trouble. The UI for Preferred App seems to have changed.
    – grm
    May 4, 2011 at 21:57

6 Answers 6


To set GMail as the default for mailto links in Ubuntu 11.10 :

  1. Install gnome-gmail
  2. Edit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list and add the line below:


  3. Open System Info (use the Dash) and under Default Applications change Mail to Gnome Gmail

Screenshot of System Info

  • Hero! Confirmed this works in 11.04 :D Jul 26, 2011 at 23:03
  • is there a way to open this menu through the command line ?
    – viyyer
    Jan 10, 2012 at 22:51
  • 2
    @viyyer: I guess setting the key mimeapps.listx-scheme-handler/mailto to "gnome-gmail.desktop;" in the section [Default Applications] in mimeapps.list should do it. This is what the gui application changes when you choose gmail.
    – migu
    Feb 15, 2012 at 18:46
  • Second step is not necessary, at least in Ubuntu 12.10
    – alfC
    Dec 20, 2012 at 20:23
  • 13.04: sudo apt-get install gnome-gmail; once you open the first mail by clicking a corresponding link in the browser, it asks you if it should be set as default. Choose 'yes' and be happy :-) May 18, 2013 at 10:30

Just install gnome gmail

sudo apt-get install gnome-gmail

Then open it.

You should get a prompt asking whether you want it to be your default mail client. Say Yes. Works on 11.10.


Check this post on WebUpd8.org: Gnome Gmail. It allows Gmail to be selected as the default mail application for Gnome.

  • Upvoting because you are the only guy who signed on in the last decade out of all the answers. Feb 25, 2021 at 22:22

Just a slight alteration of funkymonk's post works. First install gnome-gmail:

sudo apt-get install gnome-gmail

Then open the following:

gedit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list

You want to add:


underneath both "Added Associations" and "Default Applications".

If there is something like


there, you should replace this, otherwise just add the code. Then save and close and it should now work.


Open GMail on Chorme. On right side of search bar you'll see an 'eye' icon(highlighted on the image). Click on it.

Note - If you don't see the 'eye' icon. Go below of this answer to solve this issue.

enter image description here

You'll see this pop-up

enter image description here

Choose allow and click on Done.

That's it. Now GMail is your default email opener.

If you don't see the 'eye' icon

If you don't see the 'eye' icon on the search bar goto the Chrome Settings then search Protocol Handlers then somewhere you'll find this Protocol Handlers section(depending on version of Chrome) then select Sites can ask to handle protocols.

Now go back to start of this answer then follow the mentioned steps.

enter image description here


To change the default email app:

cd ~/.local/share/applications
vi mimeapps.list

Which should output the following

2 [Default Applications]
3 x-scheme-handler/mailto=userapp-Evolution-RZZYTV.desktop
5 [Added Associations]
6 x-scheme-handler/mailto=userapp-Evolution-RZZYTV.desktop;

Now if you want Thunderbird to be your default e-mail application then make the following changes:

2 [Default Applications]
3 x-scheme-handler/mailto=thunderbird
5 [Added Associations]
6 x-scheme-handler/mailto=thunderbird;

Now whenever you click a mailto link it fires up Thunderbird.

Cheers !!

  • He wants webmail ;)
    – Rinzwind
    May 4, 2011 at 13:01

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