How to Block Emails in Gmail

How to block emails automatically in Gmail so you never see them

An illustration of software blocking emails to a laptop computer.

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Block a sender's emails in Gmail and have their messages deleted automatically without being bothered.

The Forwarding That Never Stops

So you made it to someone's address book and suddenly you're getting five forwarded messages a day from this person. Unfortunately, no amount of pleading seems to convince this sender that you should be left out of the mass forwards. Your pleas for email silence are completely ignored.

You Do Not Have to Delete Emails by Hand

That means you have to read the jokes, amazing stories, and virus warnings or delete them right away; or you can let technology do the job.

With a simple filter, Gmail can send all incoming email from your nuisance forwarders straight to the Trash folder as it arrives. As an alternative, you can archive and label these messages for later review.

The Spam Button Isn't for Everyone

Of course, when you get one of those annoying emails in, you could just click the Spam button and send it into the internet netherworld, right? Sure. But that's not always the best idea. The Spam button should be reserved for reportingreal junk email, which can be classified as mass mail sent typically for financial gain and from a source that is not easily identified.

For the single sender that keeps bothering you, it's usually better to block them. If you're receiving mailer daemon spam, read these tips.

Block Email in Gmail

To add a sender to your Gmail’s list of blocked senders and have their messages go to the Spam folder automatically:

  1. Open a message from the sender you want to block.
  2. Click the More menu button (sporting a triangle pointed downward () next to the Reply button in the message’s header area).
  3. Select Block Name from the menu that has appeared.
    1. Note: For some senders, such as Google, you will not have the option to block messages. You can still employ a rule to "block" these senders; see below.
  4. Click Block in the confirmation message that appears.

Looking to block a sender and have them receive a message you did when they send new mail? You can do so using a Gmail filter.

Unblock a Sender in Gmail

To remove a sender from the blocked emails in Gmail and have future messages from the go to the inbox again instead of spam (unless, of course, a rule catches them or Gmail identifies them as junk for other reasons).

If you have a message from the sender you want to unblock at hand (you can also search for one, even the Spam folder):

  1. Open a message from the sender you want to unblock.
  2. Click the More () button in the email’s header area.
  3. Select Unblock Name from the menu that has shown.
  4. Click Unblock in the confirmation message that appears.

If you do not have a message from the sender you want to unblock readily available:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon () in Gmail.
  2. Select Settings from the menu that appears.
  3. Go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses category.
  4. In the The following email addresses are blocked... section, select the sender you want to unblock.
  5. Click Unblock selected addresses.
  6. Now click Unblock in the confirmation message that appears.

Block a Sender Using a Rule in Gmail

To have Gmail send messages from a specific sender to the Trash automatically using a filter you set up and maintain:

  1. Click the Show search options triangle () in the Gmail search field.
  2. Type the desired email address under From:
    1. You can block an entire domain by entering just the sender's domain. To block all mail from both user-a@example.com and user-b@example.com, type "@example.com".
    2. Tip: To block more than one address, separate them with "|" (the vertical bar; typically above the backslash on the keyboard; not including the quotation marks). You can block both user-a@example.com and user-b@example.com by typing "user-a@example.com|user-b@example.com", for example.
  3. Click Create filter with this search.
  4. Select Delete it in the search filter dialog box appears.
  5. Click Create filter.
    1. Tip: Check Also apply filter to X matching conversations to delete previously received messages.

To archive and label instead of deleting messages, choose Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and then choose Apply the label. Next to that, select Choose label to open a dropdown menu of all available filters. You also have the option to create a New Label if that is what you need to do.

Of course, you can always unblock somebody you have blocked using a filter in Gmail or whitelist an address altogether to prevent future messages from being put into spam.

Add a New Address to Your Gmail Block List Rule

To add new senders to your block list, add them to an existing deletion filter by editing the fitire and using "|" (as above), or create a new filter if the From: field has grown big and unwieldy. To find the existing filter click the Settings gear in Gmail, select Settings, and go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.