How to Block a Sender in Gmail

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Block a sender in Gmail and have their messages deleted automatically without your being bothered.

The Forwarding that Never Stops

So you made it to their address book. Five jokes forwarded by email each day do not lie.

Unfortunately, no convincing replies can, it seems, convince you out of the mass forwards. Your pleas for email silence are well received and benevolently ignored. Everybody wants to have and get some fun, right?

In Gmail, You Do Not Have to Delete by Hand

Either way, you have to read the jokes, amazing stores and virus warnings or delete them right away; or you let technology do the job.

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

Should I Not Use the "Spam" Button to Block Senders?

It is best to reserve the Spam button for reporting junk email—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 is usually better to block them.

Block a Sender 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).
  1. Select Block "Name" from the menu that has appeared.
  2. Click Block under Block this sender.

Unblock a Sender in Gmail

To remove a sender from the blocked senders 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 search for one—including in the Spam folder—easily, of course, in Gmail):
    1. Open the message.
    2. Click the More () button in the email’s header area.
    3. Select Unblock "Name" from the menu that has shown.
    4. Click Unblock under Unblock this sender.
  • 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 has appeared.
    3. Go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses category.
    4. Make sure the sender you want to unblock is checked under The following senders are blocked..
    5. Click Unblock selected senders.
    6. Now click Unblock under Unblock selected senders or Unblock this sender.

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:.
    • You can block an entire domain by entering just that. To block all mail from both and, type "".
    • 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 and by typing "|", for example.
  1. Click Create filter with this search ».
  2. Make sure Delete it is checked under When a message arrives that matches this search:.
  3. Click Create filter.
    • Check Also apply filter to [__] matching conversations to delete previously received messages.

To archive and label instead of delete messages, choose Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and Apply the label: under Choose action when setting up the filter.

Of course, you can always unblock somebody you have blocked using a filter in Gmail—or whitelist an address altogether 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 using "|" (as above), or create a new filter if the From: field has grown big and unwieldy. You can find the existing filter by clicking the Settings gear in Gmail, selecting Settings and going to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.

(Updated November 2015)

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