How to Block Emails in Gmail

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

Getting annoying emails? Block a sender's emails in Gmail and have their messages deleted automatically without even seeing them. Unless you tell them, the sender won't know that they've been blocked.

Want the blocked sender to know they've been blocked? Use a Gmail filter to automatically trigger a response if they try to email you again.

These instructions use the desktop version of Gmail to block emails. The effect is reflected on all your connected devices, including your phone, so long as they use IMAP to connect to your email account.

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.

Historical warrior blocking rolled up paper with a Gmail shield
Lifewire / Miguel Co 

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 reporting real 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, you can mark them as spam or junk.

Block Email in Gmail

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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 three vertical dots) next to the Reply button in the message’s header area).

  3. Select Block <Name> from the menu that has appeared.

    More button in Gmail, leading to Block user menu item

    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. Now that sender is blocked.

    Block this email address confirmation dialog highlighting the Block button

Unblock a Sender in Gmail

You can unblock a sender and have their future messages go to the inbox again instead of spam. The emails could still end up in spam or another folder if a rule catches them or Gmail identifies them as junk for other reasons. The process is different depending on if you have a message from the sender or not.

You can also unblock a sender in Gmail using a filter or whitelist an address altogether to prevent future messages from being put into spam.

Unblock a Sender Using a Email They Sent

If you have a message from the sender on hand, you can unblock them from inside the email. You can also search for an email, even in the Spam folder.

  1. Open a message from the sender you want to unblock. You'll see a big Unblock sender button. Click it.

    Screenshot of Unblock sender button in Gmail
  2. Click Unblock in the confirmation message that appears.

    Unblock button in Gmail

How to Unblock a Sender Through Settings.

If you don't have a message from the sender, you can unblock them by going into settings.

  1. Click the Settings gear in Gmail.

  2. Select Settings from the menu that appears.

    Settings button in Gear icon menu in Gmail
  3. Go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses category.

  4. In The following email addresses are blocked... section, select the sender you want to unblock. You may have to scroll down quite a bit.

  5. Click unblock.

    Screenshot of unblock option in Filters and Blocked Addresses menu in Gmail
  6. Now click Unblock in the confirmation message that appears.

    Screenshot of Unblock button in Filters and Blocked Addresses tab in Gmail settings

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.

    Search options triangle in Gmail
  2. Type the desired email address under From:

    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."

    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.

    Screenshot of Create filter button in Gmail search options dialog
  4. Select Delete it in the search filter dialog box appears.

    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.

  5. Click Create filter.

    Screenshot of search filter options highlighting Delete it and Create Filter buttons

    Check Also apply filter to X matching conversations to delete previously received messages.

  6. You should have now blocked a sender with a rule in Gmail.

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 filter 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.