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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Gmailemail

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?