How to Block a Sender in Mac OS X Mail

Young woman working on computer
Innocenti/Cultura/Getty Images

Blocking a sender is easy in OS X Mail, and particularly so if you have a message from them at hand.

One Irritation Fewer

Some people are amazingly persistent.

Talking to them is of no use. Ignoring them might not help (them) either, but at least the annoyance stops.

In OS X Mail, you can easily create a filter that will send all messages from certain, unwelcome senders to the trash without bothering you further.

Block a Sender in Mac OS X Mail

To delete all mail from a certain sender automatically in Mac OS X Mail, set up a new message rule:

  1. If you have a message from the sender you want to block at hand:
    1. Open the email in OS X Mail.
      • ​In OS X Mail 9, this is enough; to be sure, you can copy the address, of course:
      1. Click the downward-pointed arrow head or reverse caret () that appears as you hover over the sender's name or address in the message's header area.
      2. Select Copy Address from the menu that has appeared.
  2. Now select Mail | Preferences... from the menu in Mac OS X Mail.
  3. Go to the Rules tab.
  4. Click Add Rule.
  5. Make the criterion read From Contains.
  6. Insert the email address of the person you want to block.
    • ​If you had opened a message from the sender to block, the address should be entered automatically.
    • You can also paste (press Command-V) any address previously copied, of course, or type the address.
    • OS X Mail will search the entire From: header line.
      You can use this to block a sender not by email address—or not only by email address—but also by name, if they change addresses frequently.
    • To block an entire domain (such as "example.com" including the addresses "sender@example.com" and "sender@sub.example.com", for instance), enter just the domain name ("example.com").
    • You can combine looking in the From: line for the sender to block with other filter criteria, of course. Make sure all is selected under If ___ of the following conditions are met:, and add further criteria. You could have OS X Mail delete only messages from the sender that contain certain attachments, for instance, or have a particular word in the Subject: line.
    • To look for multiple addresses (all belonging to the same unwanted sender, for example) in one rule:
      1. ​Make sure any is selected under If ___ of the following conditions are met:.
      2. Make each condition read From Contains.
      3. Enter one address per criterion.
  1. Make sure Delete message is selected under Perform the following actions:.
  2. Enter a Description for the new rule.
    • Use something like ​"Blocked: user@example.com" perhaps, or anything else that will let you recognize the rule in the filters list.
  3. Now click OK.
  4. Click Apply if you want OS X Mail to delete existing messages from the senders you just blocked.
    • ​Typically, it will be safer to choose Don't Apply.
    • The rule will apply to new messages as they arrive, of course.
  1. Close the Rules preference window.

(Updated March 2016, tested with OS X Mail 9)