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How to block emails in Gmail

How to block emails in Gmail

min read

Unwanted spam messages will clog up your inbox fast if you don’t take steps to stop them. Luckily, Gmail has several features available to help you keep spam emails at bay.

Blocking these annoying messages will help keep your inbox safe and organized, so you can stay on top of communication that matters. Here’s how to block emails in Gmail, as well as ways to report spam, unsubscribe from newsletters, and keep your inbox organized. 

<a href="#reasons-block-emails" class="anchor-link">Reasons to block emails</a>
<a href="#how-to-block-emails-desktop" class="anchor-link">How to block emails in Gmail on your desktop browser</a>
<a href="#how-to-block-emails-mobile" class="anchor-link">Block emails in Gmail from your mobile device</a>
<a href="#how-to-unblock-somebody" class="anchor-link">How to unblock somebody in Gmail</a>
<a href="#how-to-report-spam" class="anchor-link">How to report spam in Gmail</a>

  • <a href="#how-to-report-phishing" class="anchor-link">How to report phishing in Gmail</a>

<a href="#how-to-unsubscribe" class="anchor-link">How to unsubscribe from emails in Gmail</a>
<a href="#how-to-delete-emails-sender" class="anchor-link">How to delete all emails from a sender</a>
<a href="#email-harassment" class="anchor-link">What to do if you experience email harassment</a>

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Reasons to block emails

There are many reasons to proactively block spam emails. When you're trying to have a productive day at work, manually deleting these junk emails is only going to slow you down. If your inbox is particularly stuffed, you might miss important messages from clients or coworkers.

These emails are more than just a nuisance–they can also be dangerous. Many cybercriminals use spam emails to distribute malware or phishing scams. These cyberattacks could damage your computer and compromise your personal information. Blocking and reporting spam emails helps keep you safe online.

How to block emails in Gmail

When you block an email address, all future emails from that sender will go to your spam folder, rather than your main inbox. If you’re receiving repeat spam emails from a specific company or individual, this is the most efficient way to keep their messages away from your primary inbox. 

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Block emails in Gmail on your desktop browser 

A screenshot of the email draft in Gmail displaying the dropdown menu when you click the three dots at the upper right corner, with the "Block [sender's name]" highlighted
  1. Open a message from the sender you would like to block. 
  2. Select the more menu, which looks like three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen. 
  3. Select “Block [sender’s name]” from the drop-down list. 
  4. A confirmation message will pop up. Select “Block” again to finalize it. 

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Block emails in Gmail from your mobile device

A screenshot of the email draft of Gmail in dark mode displaying the drop down menu after clicking the three dots at the upper right corner, with "Block [sender's name] highlighted

You can also block an email address from the Gmail smartphone app using the same process. 

  1. In the Gmail mobile app, open an email from the sender you want to block.
  2. Tap the more menu next to the return arrow in the same line as the sender’s name.
  3. Select “Block [sender’s name]” in the menu options. 

You won’t be shown a confirmation window when you block an email address on mobile. 

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How to unblock somebody in Gmail

If you’ve blocked someone on Gmail by accident or changed your mind, don’t worry–unblocking them is easy. There are a few different ways to unblock a contact. 

Unblock an email from the Gmail settings

The easiest way to unblock a sender is through Gmail settings.

A screenshot of Gmail Settings displaying the Filters and Blocked Addresses

Here’s how to unblock an email on a desktop computer: 

  1. Select the gear-shaped Settings icon in the top right-hand corner of the Gmail homepage.
  2. Select “See all settings”. 
  3. Select “Filters and Blocked Addresses” from the options at the top of the screen. 
  4. You’ll see a list of email addresses you’ve blocked. Click “Unblock” for all applicable addresses. 

Unblock an email from an email thread

You can also unblock a sender from the email that’s in your spam folder. 

  1. In the Gmail left-nav menu, select “More”, then select “Spam” to go to your spam folder.
  2. Open an email from the sender you’d like to unblock. 
  3. Open the more menu at the top of the email.
  4. Select “Unblock” from the drop-down list. 

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How to report spam in Gmail

Gmail filters out many spam emails automatically based on feedback from their users. Reporting an email as spam will remove that email from your inbox and send feedback to Google. This will help them filter out similar messages in the future. 

However, if you report a message as spam, you may still receive emails from that sender in the future. If you want to stop future unwanted messages from a specific sender, you’ll need to block them in addition to sending a spam report. 

Report spam in Gmail from your desktop:

A screenshot of the email draft in Gmail including the toolbar at the top and the Report Spam icon being highlighted
  1. Open the email you’d like to report. 
  2. Click the spam icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. This icon is an octagon with an exclamation point in the middle.
  3. The message will automatically be sent to your spam folder. 

You can also use the more menu to report spam in Gmail from the email thread. 

A screenshot of the drop down menu/ More menu in the email thread  where you can see the "Report spam" function

Report spam from the Gmail smartphone app:

A screenshot of Gmail email thread on dark mode in mobile device displaying the More menu with the "Report spam" function
  1. Open the email you’d like to report. 
  2. Tap the more menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen. 
  3. Select “Report Spam” from the menu.

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How to report phishing in Gmail

Gmail also has a feature specifically for reporting phishing emails. This feature is only available on the desktop version of Gmail. 

Phishing is a social engineering tactic where cybercriminals pose as trusted contacts. Using their adopted persona, they will attempt to trick their targets into revealing sensitive personal or financial information. They’ll also often include links that aren’t safe to click. Many phishing scams impersonate popular e-commerce brands like Amazon, or social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. 

If you’ve received a phishing email, you can report it directly to Google through the desktop app. 

A screenshot of Gmail more menu in email thread highlighting the "Report phishing" function

Open the email and select the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Scroll down and select “Report phishing”. This will send a report to Google prompting them to investigate and stop the attack. 

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How to unsubscribe from emails in Gmail

If you receive repeated newsletters or promotional emails from a sender, you’ve likely ended up on their mailing list. Luckily, unsubscribing from these emails is usually very straightforward. 

A screenshot of the content in the lower portion of an email thread highlighting the unsubscribe option

Unsubscribing from an email requires the sender to remove your email address from their distribution list, reducing unwanted content from that sender. This is different than blocking an email, which stops all emails from a specific sender, regardless of content, and may send them directly to the spam or trash folder. Blocking can be useful for persistent spam or malicious emails. Both actions aim to declutter your inbox, but they address different levels of unwanted emails.

The Federal Trade Commission requires all commercial emails to contain a working unsubscribe link. These links are usually placed at the bottom of the email. 

A screenshot of the top portion of the commercial email highlighting the unsubscribe option next to the sender's name

However, Gmail also has its own convenient unsubscribe feature. At the top of most commercial emails, you’ll see an unsubscribe link next to the sender’s name. The promotional emails should stop within a few days of clicking this link. 

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How to delete all emails from a sender

While you can delete emails manually, this process is very time-consuming and will quickly become tedious. The fastest way to delete all emails from a specific sender is to create a filter. This also means that you won’t have to open emails to delete them, which can be helpful if you’re worried about cybersecurity. 

Here’s how to create a filter that will automatically delete unwanted emails from a specific sender.

A screenshot of the window that appears inside Gmail Settingds > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a New Filter. The Delete portion is highlighted in this window.

  1. Copy the email address that you would like to filter. 
  2. Open to the Gmail settings page and select “Filters and Blocked Addresses”. 
  3. Select “Create a New Filter”.
  4. Paste the address you’d like to filter in the “From” field. 
  5. Select “Create Filter”. 
  6. Select “Delete it” from the drop-down list. 

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What to do if you experience email harassment

In some cases, unwanted emails are more than just spam — they're a form of direct harassment. Gmail’s Program Policies prohibit harassment and intimidation. Be sure to report any harassment or intimidation emails directly to Google so they can remove the offending account from the platform. 

If you're experiencing personal attacks via email, don't ignore them. Contact your local authorities right away for support, especially if you feel you may be in danger. Most state and local governments have laws in place prohibiting this type of online harassment.

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