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Gmail: How to block emails, unsubscribe, and more

Blocking contacts and setting up filters can free you from Gmail clutter.

Gmail logo
Image: KnowTechie

Between spam, advertising lists, and other annoyances, anyone with a Gmail account gets many daily emails. Thankfully, you can block emails on Gmail.

From unsolicited advertising to companies sending multiple emails a day, your inbox deserves a break. Fortunately, Google’s email service is full of tools to block, unsubscribe, and more.

We’ll also show you how to block spam and phishing attempts, unsubscribe from email lists, and how you can unblock anyone you accidentally blocked.

Why you should block people on Gmail

Block icon over gmail inbox
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to change Gmail’s spam settings and customize the filter

The longer you have a Gmail email address, the more email you get.

That’s even more true if you use your Google account to sign up for services, as it automatically defaults to using your Gmail for communication.

That might mean you get an overflowing inbox, especially if some companies sell their email lists to third parties. You might be tempted to mark everything as spam, but that’s not always the answer.

Marking emails as spam could hurt legitimate senders that other Gmail users rely on. Those could be banks sending you advertisements even if you don’t bank there or retail outlets.

READ MORE: How to disable Gmail offline mode and clear the cache

Reporting those senders could train Google’s filters to block important emails from other users, like bank statements.

What happens when you block someone?

When you block an email address, it doesn’t stop them from sending you an email.

Instead, that email gets filtered out before it hits your Inbox. Gmail’s filters send it to the Spam or Trash folder if you blocked their email via filters.

Google also keeps a record of every email address you have blocked, so you can unblock them in the future if you wish.

If you were worried, they won’t know you blocked them. Also, the block doesn’t carry over to any other Google services, like Hangouts or Meet.

How to block emails on Gmail

Don’t let your inbox become a cluttered, unmanageable mess. Google has a comprehensive set of options for managing who can email you, and it’s all a few clicks away from your inbox.

How to block an email address on Gmail’s desktop version:

  1. Open an email sent from the contact

  2. Click on the three-dot icon next to the reply button and select Block “[Contact name”]Block a sender on gmail

  3. Click the Block button in the window that pops up to confirm the blockBlock confirmation popup in gmail

All messages sent from this person will now go into your Spam folder.

Set up a filtering rule on Gmail

While blocking individual emails is fine for most cases, sometimes you need to block a domain. That’s the part after the @ in the email address.

Gmail lets you set up filters so any emails that match that domain will get deleted as soon as they hit your inbox. Here’s how:

  1. Go to mail.google.com. This will also work on iPads, serving the site’s desktop version, but not mobile devices.
  1. Click the gear icon at the top-right corner, then on See all settings
Screenshot of gmail inbox showing the location of the settings icon
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click on the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab
Gmail settings showing the filters and blocked addresses tab
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Scroll down and click on Create a new filter
Gmail screenshot showing the create filter option
Image: KnowTechie
  1. A form will pop up with some blank spots. The only one you need is From; add the domain you want to filter. In this case, we used @knowtechie.com
Options for creating gmail filter
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click on Create filter
  1. Another list will appear. You can check the box next to Delete it, and then click Create filter. If you want to remove all existing emails, also check the box next to Also apply filter to X matching conversations
Gmail filter options for message actions
Image: KnowTechie

Once this filter is in effect, all emails from that domain will end up in your Trash folder. They’ll stay there for 30 days before Gmail automatically deletes them.

That gives you enough time to double-check, so you don’t lose any potentially important emails.

You can unblock the domain by going back to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, then deleting the filtering rule from the list.

How to block an email address from Gmail (Android and iOS)

If you prefer to use the Gmail mobile app, we’ll walk you through the process for blocking email addresses below:

  1. Open up the Gmail app
Ios gmail icon on iphone screen
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on the email you want to block
  1. Then, tap the horizontal three-dot icon that’s next to the Reply button
Ios gmail app showing menu button to get to block options
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Block [Sender]
Ios gmail app showing block sender option
Image: KnowTechie

Once you’ve selected Block, all future emails from the address will go straight to the Spam folder.

How to report spam or phishing on Gmail

Sometimes blocking an email address isn’t enough. Persistent spammers or phishing attempts also deserve to be reported to Gmail, so they can improve their detection routines.

That will result in everybody getting fewer scams and other unwanted emails in their inboxes, which is a win for everyone. But remember, you should only do this on legitimate spam.

Report spam and phishing on desktop:

If you are using Gmail on desktop, follow the steps below to report both spam and phishing attempts:

  1. Go to your inbox and Click on the email you want to report
  2. Click on the three-dot icon at the top right of the email
Report gmail spam phishing
Image: KnowTechie

From the menu that appears, click on Report spam or Report phishing. Spam is repeated junk emails, while phishing could be any of several scams aimed at stealing money or your account credentials.

Again, don’t use the Spam report if you’re getting persistent advertising emails from a business or bank.

It’s better to use the normal block option, as otherwise Google could start filtering banking emails for actual customers if enough people report them.

Report spam and phishing through the mobile app:

You can also report emails from the Gmail app on Android and iOS:

  1. Open the Gmail app
Ios gmail icon on iphone screen
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on either the email to open it or the circular profile icon of the sender
  1. Tap on the horizontal three-dot icon at the very top right
Ios gmail app showing where to get to spam reporting
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Report spam
Ios gmail app showing report spam option
Image: KnowTechie

Now you know how to report persistent spammers to Google. The more people that report spam, the better Google’s automatic spam detection gets, and the less junk everyone gets in their inboxes.

Report not spam
Image: KnowTechie

If you see something in your Spam folder that shouldn’t be there, open the email and click the Not spam button at the top. This email was spam so I didn’t click.

How to unblock a Gmail contact

You might find that you accidentally blocked an email address you shouldn’t have. But don’t fear.

Whether it’s a family member or a necessary online service, we’ll show you how to find them and unblock their email address in Gmail.

Unblock a Gmail contact through desktop:

  1. Go to mail.google.com on your browser. This will also work on iPads, which also serve the site’s desktop version. You can’t do this from a mobile device; Gmail won’t show you the necessary settings.
  1. Click the gear icon at the top-right corner, then on See all settings
Screenshot of gmail inbox showing the location of the settings icon
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab
Gmail settings showing the filters and blocked addresses tab
Image: KnowTechie
  1. If you have any blocked addresses, they will show in a list. Scroll down to find the email you want to unblock, then click the Unblock button
Gmail blocked addresses list
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click Unblock in the window that pops up to confirm the unblock. All messages sent from this person will now go into your Inbox.
Gmail unblock email address confirmation prompt
Image: KnowTechie

Unblock a Gmail contact through the mobile app:

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to unblock senders through the mobile app.

If you still have an email from them in your inbox or spam folder, you can open that and follow the instructions above for blocking a sender in mobile Gmail to get to an Unblock [sender] option.

If you don’t have an email from them in your inbox, you’ll have to go to the desktop version of Gmail.

You can also unblock everyone in one click on Gmail

This is the easiest way to unblock senders in Gmail, but it comes with a big caveat. In fact, you’ll be unblocking every spammer, scammer, and undesirable that you ever blocked.

Your inbox will get full, so be prepared to unsubscribe or reblock some of them.

On desktop:

  1. Head to your Google Account
  1. Click on Home, then on Protect your account
Google account home page showing the security checkup button
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click on Gmail settings
Google account security check gmail options
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click on Unblock all
Gmail unblock all button
Image: KnowTechie

Now all of the accounts you blocked can email you again. Yes, that means the persistent spammers can again send you an email. At least you know how to block them again if you need to.

On mobile:

  1. Open the Gmail app
Ios gmail icon on iphone screen
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on your profile picture, then on Manage my Google account
Gmail app showing the manage my google account option
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Then, tap on Protect your account under the “You have security recommendations” section
Gmail app showing security recommendations
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on Gmail settings
Gmail app showing gmail security settings
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on Unblock all
Gmail app showing unblock all option
Image: KnowTechie

That’s it; now you’ve unblocked every single sender you ever blocked in Gmail.

How to unsubscribe from email lists on Gmail

Some email senders send lots of emails, which you might not want. Gmail makes it quick to unsubscribe from many advertising sites, so your inbox can breathe again.

  1. Open mail.google.com on your desktop browser
  1. Click on any email from the sender you want to unsubscribe from
  1. Then, click on the Unsubscribe link next to the sender’s email address
Unsubscribe button in gmail
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click Unsubscribe on the popup

Google will send an unsubscribe request to that emailer on your behalf, so you shouldn’t see any more emails from them.

If you can’t see the Unsubscribe or Change preferences option next to the email address, Google says you should either block the sender or mark the email as Spam.

Blocking someone on Gmail can give you peace of mind

The block feature in Gmail can give you a new lease on life, especially with those people who want to give you a piece of their mind.

Block anyone and anything that irritates you; our inboxes are hectic enough without the added stress.

But remember, if you are using the “Mark as spam” feature, it’s best to save that for actual spam and not use it for annoyances.

So now you know how to block individual emails, create filters, unsubscribe from email lists, and unblock anyone you might have accidentally blocked. Enjoy your uncluttered Gmail inbox.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar of cheryl larimer

    Cheryl Larimer

    January 22, 2023 at 8:07 am

    Good info. I’m just switching from hotmail to gmail and tips are helpful.

    • Avatar of kevin raposo

      Kevin Raposo

      January 24, 2023 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks for the comment!

      Switching from Hotmail to Gmail will be a world of difference in terms of usability. Nothing against Hotmail, but I feel like Gmail offers a lot more functionality.

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