How to Unblock a Sender in Gmail

Accidentally block a sender in Gmail? Here's how to undo it

Gmail offers two ways to block unwanted email from specific senders: a filter and the Google Block option within the email itself. To unblock an email address in Gmail from a filter, remove that email address from the filter you made to set up the block. If the filter contains multiple email addresses and you want to keep blocking other email addresses or domains in the filter, edit the filter to remove only the email addresses you want to unblock and keep the others to continue blocking them. Once the filter has been updated, new emails from the addresses that were removed from the filter show up in your Inbox folder.

Locate the Filter to Unblock

Gmail removes an email address or domain from your list of blocked addresses through the Filters and Blocked Addresses page in the settings. The first step is to locate the filter that deletes emails.

  1. Select Settings (the gear icon), then choose Settings.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  2. Go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Filters and Blocked Addresses heading highlighted
  3. In The following filters are applied to all incoming mail section, locate the filter that you want to edit or delete. The name or address is in bold.

    Filters and blocked addresses in Gmail

Edit the Filter

After you locate the filter that blocks the email address, decide whether to delete it (which stops the action designated for these emails) or to edit it to remove an email address (to unblock messages from that address only).

  1. Next to the filter, select Edit to open the filter details.

    The Edit link
  2. In the From field, delete only the addresses that should be unblocked. Any address left in the filter will continue to be blocked.

    To stop blocking all the email addresses listed in the filter, skip the rest of these steps and go to the next section, Delete the Entire Filter.

    The From field
  3. Select Continue.

    The Continue button
  4. Choose how Gmail will handle emails that the filter catches, for example, choose Delete it to delete email from blocked senders. Then, select Update filter to save your changes.

    The Update Filter button

Delete the Entire Filter

To completely delete the filter and unblock all the email addresses in the From field, remove the filter.

  1. Return to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab in the settings.

  2. Find the filter that blocks emails and select delete.

    The Delete link
  3. Select OK to confirm the delete.

    The OK button

Unblock a Blocked Address

If you use the Gmail Block feature to block senders from their messages, the process of unblocking them is slightly different and more straightforward.

  1. Select Settings (the gear icon).

    A screenshot of a Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Settings.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  3. On the Settings page, select the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Filters and Blocked Addresses heading highlighted
  4. Toward the bottom of the page is a section for blocked addresses. These are the addresses that you've automatically filtered to Spam using the Block feature.

    The list of blocked email addresses
  5. Find the address that you want to unblock, and select Unblock.

    The Unblock link
  6. Select Unblock to confirm that you want to unblock the address and send all future mail to your Inbox.

    The Unblock button
  7. All future email from the unblocked address will show up in your regular Inbox unless there's another filter in place directing it elsewhere.

Can't Unblock the Email Address?

Removing an email address from the filter that blocks those emails — or deleting the filter — is the best way to stop emails from being blocked. However, if after doing so you don't get emails in your Inbox folder from that sender, there are a few things that you can do

Make Sure There Isn't Another Filter

There's a chance that the email that you unblocked is blocked or redirected by a different filter. Do a search for that address on the Filters and Blocked Addresses page in the settings. Another filter may be set up to automatically move those emails to a different folder, in which case you can edit or delete that filter to make sure those messages go to your Inbox folder.

Maybe it Really is Spam

If you were sending the emails to the Trash folder through this filter, those might not be emails you want. So, if the messages don't go to your Inbox folder after removing the filter, Gmail might be marking these messages as spam.

  1. Open the Spam folder. If you have custom Gmail folders, look for the Spam folder in the More section.

  2. Open the email that isn't spam.

  3. In the banner across the top of the message, select Report not spam to move the message to the Inbox.

    If the banner doesn't appear, look for the Spam label at the top of the message (it's next to the subject). Select the X to remove the label and return the message to the Inbox.

    The Report not Spam button
  4. The message, and others like it, will appear in your Inbox from now on.

Force the Issue With a Safelist

Safelisting (typically called a Whitelist, but modern term is Safelist) is another way to make sure your emails are delivered to the Inbox folder is to safelist that email address so that Gmail stops marking those emails as spam. As long as you don't have a filter that sends the emails to the Trash folder, or to another folder, safelisting will unblock the emails.

More to Consider Before Unblocking

Be careful when deleting Gmail filters that include more than one email address, but especially if the filter blocks a whole domain. Domains encapsulate a lot of email addresses and potential emails. For example, if you block the @spamsite.org domain because it sends spam — and you want to keep blocking those emails — don't delete the whole filter since that will unblock the whole domain.

If you want to unblock all the email address in a filter, don't edit the filter to remove the Delete it option. Filters must have a setting enabled and an error message appears when all options are removed. It's best to remove the whole filter to stop automatically deleting emails.