Get your inbox zen back with our guide to blocking unwanted and spam emails
Unwanted emails shouldn’t get in the way of a clean inbox, but sometimes spam filters go awry and messages you definitely don’t want to see start appearing in your inbox. Here we explain how to stop these messages from appearing next to stuff you actually want to read, either by blocking them or setting up simple rules. We’ve covered this for Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and iCloud. Scroll down to find the relevant tutorial.
How to block emails in Gmail
To block emails on the Gmail website, open the email you want to block and click on the down-arrow next to the Reply button on the top-right of the email. Click ‘Block [name]’ and then in the window that pops up, click Block. Bear in mind that these emails will be filed under Spam so you’ll still be able to see them if you check your Spam folder regularly.
If you want to to automatically delete emails from a particular sender you can do this. Open the email and click on the down-arrow next to the Reply button on the top-right of the email and select ‘Filter messages like this’. In the box that pops up, click ‘Create filter with this search’ on the bottom-right, then select ‘Skip the inbox (Archive it)’. The email will still exist but you won’t be able to find it easily. Alternatively, select ‘Delete it’, and the email will be moved to your Deleted Items folder and will be permanently deleted after 30 days.
iOS and Android
There is currently no way to block a sender from within the iOS or Android Gmail app. You can report an individual message as spam, but that doesn’t mean that sender will automatically be blocked. See the instructions for the Gmail website on how to block senders.
You can mute email threads by tapping the down arrow (three dots button on Android) button on the top-right of the message and then tapping on Mute. This will move a thread out of your inbox. You can still find it by searching for ‘is:muted’ in the search box.
How to block emails in Outlook.com, Hotmail, Live Mail
To block a sender from the web version of Outlook, select the message and click on the Actions button on the top-right of the message. Them select ‘Create rule’. By default the rule will be set to delete all messages from that sender. The message will be automatically placed in your Deleted folder without hitting your inbox.
Windows 10 app
There is currently no way to automatically filter emails from the Windows 10 app, you’ll need to use the Web instructions above.
If you have the full desktop version of the Outlook mail client, blocking a sender is easy. Right-click on the message you want and select Junk>Block sender.
If you don’t even want to see this email in your Junk folder, you can create a Rule for the sender. Select the email and go to the Home tab. Select Rules>Create Rule. Tick the tickbox that’s next to the name of the sender you want to block and then tick the bottom box ‘Move the item to folder’. Select your Deleted Items folder and click OK, then click OK again. All incoming emails from the sender you have chosen will go straight into your Deleted Items folder.
iOS and Android
You can’t currently set rules in the iOS or Android versions of Outlook, but any rules you set via the web interface or in the Outlook application will be applied.
How to block emails in Yahoo Mail
On the web, click on an email from the sender you want to block. Click on the three dots at the bottom of the email and select Block. The press OK, leaving both boxes ticked. This will send future email from this sender to your Spam folder.
Alternatively, click on the More button at the top of the email and select ‘Filter emails like this’. In the box that pops up, click on the dropdown list next to ‘Then move the message to this folder’ and select Trash. Then click ‘Save’. This will send all emails from the sender to your Trash folder.
iOS and Android
You can’t set rules from within the iOS or Android versions of Yahoo Mail, but they will adhere to any rules you’ve set up via the web version.
How to block emails in iOS Mail app
You can’t block emails in the iOS Mail app unless you’re using iCloud Mail. This can be done by creating a rule. Go to icloud.com and click on Mail. Click on the Cogwheel icon on the bottom left and click on ‘Add a Rule’. In the ‘If a message’, make sure the top box says ‘is from’ and then type the address you want to block into the box below. In the ‘Then’ section click on the dropdown list and select ‘Move to Trash’. For all other email providers, you’ll need to set up your rules with them (such as the instructions for Gmail and Outlook above).
Android Email app
You may be able to do this depending on the make and age of your phone – different phone manufacturers ship their handsets with slightly different email clients so their functions will vary greatly. Therefore it’s better to block emails with your email provider (as described with Gmail and Outlook above). This will apply your blocking rule before the email gets to your phone.