Gmail: How to block emails, unsubscribe, and more
Blocking contacts and setting up filters can free you from Gmail clutter.
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
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.
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:
Open an email sent from the contact
Click on the three-dot icon next to the reply button and select Block “[Contact name”]
Click the Block button in the window that pops up to confirm the block
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:
- Go to mail.google.com. This will also work on iPads, serving the site’s desktop version, but not mobile devices.
- Click the gear icon at the top-right corner, then on See all settings
- Click on the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab
- Scroll down and click on Create a new filter
- 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
- Click on Create filter
- 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
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:
- Open up the Gmail app
- Tap on the email you want to block
- Then, tap the horizontal three-dot icon that’s next to the Reply button
- Tap Block [Sender]
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:
- Go to your inbox and Click on the email you want to report
- Click on the three-dot icon at the top right of the email
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:
- Open the Gmail app
- Tap on either the email to open it or the circular profile icon of the sender
- Tap on the horizontal three-dot icon at the very top right
- Tap Report spam
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.
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:
- 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.
- Click the gear icon at the top-right corner, then on See all settings
- Select the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab
- 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
- Click Unblock in the window that pops up to confirm the unblock. All messages sent from this person will now go into your Inbox.
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.
- Head to your Google Account.
- Click on Home, then on Protect your account
- Click on Gmail settings
- Click on Unblock all
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.
- Open the Gmail app
- Tap on your profile picture, then on Manage my Google account
- Then, tap on Protect your account under the “You have security recommendations” section
- Tap on Gmail settings
- Tap on Unblock all
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.
- Open mail.google.com on your desktop browser
- Click on any email from the sender you want to unsubscribe from
- Then, click on the Unsubscribe link next to the sender’s email address
- 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.
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