The Why and How of Reporting Spam in Gmail

Help Gmail learn to prevent spam from reaching your inbox

Door mail slot with NO JUNK MAIL sign above it

 

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An inbox can quickly get out of hand when inundated with spammy email. Instead of deleting the spam that makes it to your Gmail inbox, report it so that you see less spam in the future.

Reporting Spam Strengthens Your Gmail Spam Filter

The more spam you teach Gmail to recognize, the less spam you get in your inbox. You help Gmail's spam filter learn by showing it the junk that made it to your inbox.

Reporting spam is easy and not only rids you of similar junk in the future but also purges the offending message immediately.

How to Report Spam in Gmail

To report an email as spam right in your browser and improve the Gmail spam filter specifically for you in the future:

  1. Place a checkmark next to the message or messages in Gmail by selecting the empty box to the left of the email. You may be able to identify spam without opening the email. You can also open the email, of course.

    Gmail select message from inbox
  2. Turn your attention to the menu just above your inbox. Find the icon that looks like an exclamation point( ! ) in a stop sign. Press it to mark the message as spam. You can also press ! (Shift+1) if you have Gmail keyboard shortcuts enabled.

    Gmail report a message as spam
  3. Gmail will let you know that the message and the message and the any conversations it's a part of have been moved to Spam. You can view them in your Spam folder, if you choose.

How to Report Spam in Gmail in an IMAP Email Client

To report spam if you access IMAP, move the message or messages to the [Gmail]/Spam folder.

How to Report Spam in Gmail in a Mobile Browser

To report an email as spam in the Gmail mobile web browser:

  1. Place a checkmark in the box to the left of the unwanted message or messages. You can also open a message.

    Report spam in the Gmail mobile browser
  2. A new bar will appear, floating in the upper right of the screen. Press the down arrow icon to reveal the rest of the options.

  3. Select Report Spam from the new extended menu.

How to Report Spam in Gmail in the Gmail App

To report a message as spam in the Gmail app for Android and iOS mobile devices:

  1. In your inbox, tap the initials in front of one or more messages.

    Gmail mobile app report spam
  2. The top menu will shift to show you the options for you selected message(s). Tap the menu icon, designated by three stacked dots, in the upper right corner of the screen.

  3. Another menu will expand to show an extended set of options. Choose Report spam from the list.

Inbox by Gmail was phased out altogether on March 31, 2019.

Blocking: An Alternative for Individual Senders but Not Spammers

For messages from specific, obnoxious senders, blocking is usually the better option than reporting the messages as spam. Chances are, the emails don't look like typical spam, so they may confuse the spam filter more than they help.

Use blocking only for individual senders — people who forward you messages, for instance — and not for spam. Senders of spam emails do not usually have identifiable addresses that remain the same. Typically, the address is random, so blocking the lone email does nothing to stop the inflow of spam.