How to block unwanted emails and leave your inbox clear

Stop the emails from arriving in the first place!

How to block emails
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever received a random email, from a sender you don't know, on a subject you know nothing about?

Or, have you had email after email landing in your inbox, knowing that you'll never want open them, let alone have them landing in your mail?

Or perhaps, you've got a particularly keen friend, family member, or colleague, who you'd rather not hear from via email?

In our modern world, many of us are subject to a barrage of emails every day - be they personal messages, work emails, or emails from companies to whose newsletters we've unwillingly signed up for. When was the last time you bought something online, only to find an unwanted email from the very same brand just a week later, usually all about the 'deal you can't afford to miss!'

We're often receiving emails from places we know nothing about, given how widely available so many email addresses are in the age of digital.

MORE: New report shows that evening emails ‘overwhelm’ working parents leaving them unable to switch off

And so, plenty of these emails are from people we don't really want to contact us, and in that case, a great way to handle it is by blocking their emails altogether.

Blocking unwanted emails is a good way to target emails from a specific sender - perhaps someone who might regularly end up in your junk folder.

If you want to make sure you only get the essential emails - thereby saving yourself from overwhelm and a bursting inbox - discover below how to block emails...

How to block an email address

How to block emails on Outlook/Hotmail

If you use Outlook/Hotmail to send and receive your daily messages, it's easy to block a certain sender.

Simply log in, using your normal username (or email) and password, and navigate to an email from the sender you wish to block. From there, you should see three dots in the top right-hand corner. Click on that, and in the drop-down list that appears, it will give you an option to 'Block 'name of sender''

Click that button, and you're done! You won't receive any more emails from that sender.

How to block emails on Gmail

how to block emails

Credit: Getty Images

The process of blocking emails is, again, very straightforward on Gmail too. Follow the same process - click on a recent email from the sender you wish to block, navigate to the three dots (vertical, this time), click on them, and then click 'Block sender'.

How to block emails on iPhone

It didn't use to be possible to block a sender on the Mail app on the iPhone. But with a recent update, you can do so easily whilst on the move.

All you need to do is go to the sender you wish to block, click on the email, and then click on the sender's name. A menu will come up, and all you need to do is click 'Block this contact', and it's done.

From then on, any emails they do send you should go straight to your Trash folder. Alternatively, you can log onto your emails on a Desktop and block the send in the above ways.

Credit: Getty Images

On the Apple iPhone you can also review the email addresses you have blocked by navigating to Settings, then Mail, and then Blocked, to remind yourself.

It is there that you can also unblock email senders. To unblock them, click 'Edit', in the top right-hand corner, click on the red button that appears next their name, and click Unblock. You will now begin to get emails from them again.

Will the sender know I've blocked them - and can I still send them emails?

So what happens after you block a specific email address? Well, thankfully, the sender won't actually know that you've blocked them - e.g they won't receive a bounce-back, or an 'email not sent' message - and so will presume that any email they send you will reach you.

It's a misconception that emails from blocked senders end up in your Junk email. Most email providers will receive the message, but won't send it into any of your folders - instead, deleting it before it has a chance to reach you.

And, if you decide you want to email a blocked sender at any point, it'll still work. Blocking people only means that they can't send you any messages, but you can still email them if you need to. However, just be aware that you likely won't see any reply they send you.

How to stop spam emails in general

Given how much we all use the internet nowadays, unfortunately, it's very tricky to totally rid your inbox of spam email forever. But there are ways to limit how much of it gets through.

Firstly, if you notice that a spam email has gotten through to your inbox, click on the options for that email and mark it as spam, or send it to your Junk folder, so that your email provider begins to recognise those more inconspicuous messages as spam emails.

Credit: Getty Images

Another important thing to do (or to not do), is to ensure you don't open the email, or respond to it. And especially do not open any links, pictures, or otherwise within the email - the spammer could be trying to steal personal information.

How to unsubscribe from emails

Unsubscribing from emails is different from blocking email senders, in that you'll typically need to unsubscribe from certain mailing lists or newsletters.

This is another easy process - all you'll need to do find the email you know you want to unsubscribe from, and click the unsubscribe button that appears next to their name. It may take you to an external page, where it'll ask you to update your email preferences - e.g. if you want to only receive certain types of mail from them, or no mail at all.

However, if you don't see the unsubscribe button next to the sender, you can normally just navigate to the very bottom of the email, and click unsubscribe there.

You shouldn't receive any more emails from them going forward.

Senior Digital Writer

Amy is Senior Digital Writer across Woman & Home, GoodTo and Woman, writing about everything from celebrity news to health, fashion and beauty features. When she isn't obsessing over the latest dress drop from Marks & Spencer, you'll most likely find Amy out running, or with a cup of tea in hand ready to dive into a gripping new Netflix series.