Ever tried unsubscribing from a newsletter or promotional emails only to receive another one the next week or month, and the one after that, and one more, and no unsubscribe option worked? Whether it’s a spammy ad or an unwanted contact, you can block them from emailing you using Gmail’s built-in settings.
Yes, you can permanently block a sender in your Gmail interface, both on the web and mobile. You can also place messages to Spam using desktop mail clients with your Gmail account.
And if you are worried if the blocked person will know you blocked them – we’ve actually tried out Gmail’s spam blocker and did not get any sort of notification about the blocking or when we sent an email to the contact who blocked us. Gmail’s filters offer additional customization options for you to adjust them to sort various types of messages.
Now, let’s find out how to block an email address in Gmail.
How to permanently block an email address
If you don’t want to receive messages from a certain sender, you can just black them in your Gmail web interface. Worried you might want to take a look at them later? No worries – Gmail first sends messages from blocked senders to Spam. Messages that have been in the Spam folder for over 30 days will be automatically deleted.
Here’s how to block a sender on Gmail on your Mac. Open your browser of choice, go to gmail.com, and open the email which sender you need to block. Click on the three dots icon in the top right corner of the email and select Block “[Contact]”:
Now, at the top of the email, you’ll see the message indicating you’ve blocked the sender:
If you change your mind or have blocked someone by accident, you can undo the action right away by simply clicking Unblock sender.
You can also unblock a sender in Settings. Press the wheel icon in the top right corner of the tab to go to Settings, then click See all settings. Go to Filters and Blocked Addresses, find the contact you want to unblock on the blocked addresses list and click Unblock.
You can do a mass unblock by selecting several or all emails on your blocked list.
And if you are wondering how to block someone on the Gmail app on your phone, the process is even easier via the Gmail app for iOS.
Just open the email from the sender you want to block, press the three dots icon, tap Block “[Contact]” in the menu that appears at the bottom of the screen, and you are done!
You don’t even need to confirm the block, the blocked contact banner will appear at top of the email right away:
If you don’t want to keep checking your messages on the web, want a fresh way to organize your emails, or just looking to change up your mail client, we suggest that you try Canary Mail.
Canary Mail is a popular solution for users looking to get end-to-end encryption for their messages. It has a simple and sleek design and makes your email-checking experience a seamless process.
By the way, if you prefer sticking to using the native Mail app on your Mac, you can also block an unwanted contact there.
To mark email as a spam, just click on the icon:
How to block spam emails on Gmail
Now that you know how to block emails from unwanted senders on Gmail, you can also permanently stop spam emails from getting into your Inbox. Gmail has a handy spam filter for this task, and you can add unwanted senders to the list just by opening a spam message, clicking the three dots icon, as described above, but instead of Block, select Report spam:
After you click on Report spam in this menu, you are presented with two options – Report spam & unsubscribe or just Report spam:
What’s more, you can invoke the spam reporting feature even if you are using an email client to access your Gmail. Just move the spam message to the Spam or Junk folder. That should sync up to your Gmail as well. Note that sometimes the Spam folder is located in the dedicated [Gmail] folder of your email client.
In native Mail, move the message to Junk to have it moved to Spam in your Gmail too:
In Canary Mail, just move unwanted messages to the Spam folder, and it syncs with your Gmail, where the message also goes to Spam.
If you feel inspired to report some of the annoying messages you’ve been using as spam right now but can’t quite locate them in your inbox, just use the search field at the top of your Gmail to find emails.
Find the messages you want to report, open and move as shown above. Alternatively, you can select several messages and click the exclamation mark icon to move them to Spam in bulk:
Gmail has long been putting in great effort into perfecting their spam filters. They let the user decide what counts as spam and allow restoring emails from the Spam folder to Inbox if the user marks a message as not spam.
While the Gmail spam filter is pretty thorough, some messages slip through the cracks and appear either in your Inbox when they clearly belong in Spam, or in your Spam folder when it’s the message you actually expect.
So if you want to whitelist an email address, you can do that too. There are two ways to do this. You can open the message you got from the sender you want to whitelist, click the three dots icon at the top right corner of the email, and select Filter messages like this:
And set the filter to never send emails from this sender to spam (shown below).
Or, if you have the email you want to whitelist handy, just go to Settings by clicking the wheel icon at the top right of your Inbox and select See all settings. Go to Filters and Blocked Addresses and press Create new filter:
You’ll be prompted to create a filter, just like you are when you select Filter messages like this. Fill out any parameters you need within the filter:
You can just leave everything empty and only list the email address you need messages filtered from. Press Create filter and select the action parameters for it:
On this final step, you are asked to set the desired action for your filter whenever your Gmail account gets a message fitting the filter parameters. To whitelist an email address, tick Never send it to Spam. Click Create filter, and you are done!
How to protect your Gmail from suspicious emails
Anyone who knows your email address can send you a malicious email, containing links to malware or tricking you to share your passwords or other sensitive information. Gmail warns you whenever a message in your Inbox raises red flags.
Here is the warning we got on one of our incoming emails just this week:
As you can see, the banner is bright red and hard to miss.
And even if an email you got does not have any warnings on it, you can still report it as phishing if you suspect, well, something fishy. If you feel an email might be trying to trick you into revealing sensitive information to an attacker, you can report phishing attempts to Gmail.
Click the three dots icon at the top right of the message you consider phishing and select Report phishing:
If you want to permanently block someone on Gmail, you can easily do so through the Gmail web interface directly from the email you got from unwanted contact. New messages from this contact will get forwarded to your Spam folder and permanently removed from the folder after 30 days.
If you are looking to block an annoying newsletter that just won’t succumb to your unsubscribe plea, you can report spam directly in Gmail. Even if you are using a different email client, like Canary Mail or macOS native Mail, you can move a spam message to the dedicated spam folder (names can vary – it’s Junk on Mail, Spam on Canary Mail, and Spam subfolder in [Gmail] folder) and that will also sync up with your Gmail account. Your message will be marked as Spam and moved to the Spam folder in Gmail.
By the way, if you are not using an advanced email client such as Canary Mail yet, it’s a good time to try it out! With a Setapp subscription, it’s free to try for 7 days, along with over 240 top-tier Mac and iPhone apps.