Google's Gmail finally adds the ability to block email, but there's a better way

Setting up an automated filter to delete unwanted emails also does the trick. We'll show you how to do it.

Google said Tuesday that users will now be able to “block” specific email addresses—except that they’re not really blocked, and Google already has more powerful tools to eradicate offensive email that are already in Gmail.

As of Tuesday, “blocking” an email will actually send an email from that specific email address to the spam folder—where it will technically live on, even if no one really checks their spam folder.

Technically, neither Gmail nor Yahoo Mail offer a “block” option, in which a hateful email is simply never received. Microsoft’s Outlook app for Office allows you to “Junk” an email—either from the specific sender or the sender’s domain—something that Google’s Gmail doesn’t allow.

Why this matters: If you whack a spider and miss, and then it crawls under your bed—well, that’s going to creep some people out. Ditto for your psycho ex-: some people don’t want to even see an email (and its header) in their inbox. Blocking that email is one solution; totally eradicating it via a “delete” filter may appeal to others. How do you do the latter? Read on.

How to set up an automated filter to delete unwanted email in Gmail

Gmail does allow users to set up an automated filter to take email from specific senders and apply various rules to it, including deleting it. Here’s how to do it:

gmail filter beginning option Mark Hachman

In your inbox, select one or more messages using the little checkboxes to the left of the message. At the top of the list of messages, you’ll see a number of icons with drop-down menus. Click More . > Filter messages like these.

That will open up a screen, pre-populated with the email addresses of the senders of the emails you highlighted. Note that you can also add specific words in the fields—the subject line, and more, if you want to fine-tune this further.

Where this gets confusing—and this is possibly the reason for the new Block command—is that clicking Create filter with this search does not actually create the filter.

Instead, it takes you to a second page, where you have a number of options to apply to the message. The one you’ll want, in this case, is Delete. Granted, deleting an email means that it’s gone forever. But if you’re desperate to never hear from a particular email address ever again, you’ve found a possible solution.

gmail email filtering Mark Hachman

Use this filter to automatically delete an email in Gmail.

There’s another twist: The Block feature will be added to the Gmail Android app next week. You can only dial up the Gmail filters we’ve shown you above, however, on the desktop version of Gmail. Block may become a weapon of last resort if you don’t own a PC.

Fortunately, there’s a kinder, gentler option to those automated mailing lists that you wanted to see, once, and never want to see again. The Gmail Unsubscribe function is also coming to the Android app. That allows you to both issue an automated unsubscribe command, as well as hide that spammy list from your inbox, Google said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags emailGmail

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?