Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

How to Block Emails on Your iPhone

published by Rachel Gold
January 5, 2023 at 8:29 p.m. PST
  • Since its inception, the iPhone came equipped with email capabilities.
  • Many iPhone users suffer from irrelevant junk emails and spam.
  • Blocking unwanted emails on your iPhone is easily accomplished with just a few taps.
  • You can block emails on your iPhone or email service, each having a different effect.

Why You Should Block Emails on Your iPhone

Your iPhone is a personal device. It’s all about you and your stuff. What’s worse than trying to find the things you need in a massive pile of junk? If you don’t carefully manage your inbox, it will eventually have so much junk mail that finding critical communications becomes more difficult.

Email can also be costly after a while. I wasn’t careful managing my 15-year-old Gmail account, so I had to spend extra on storage. I spent a few days going through old emails, deleting what I felt was unnecessary. The whole affair became so time intensive that I gave in and paid for extra space.

I get so many emails that I don’t even open most of them. Some of these are from online retailers I’ve done business with but don’t plan on patronizing again. Others just got my email address from unscrupulous sources who sell mailing lists to spammers.

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We get a lot of unwanted emails. The good news is that you can block emails on your iPhone and your email service. Let’s take a look at how to do this.

How to Block Emails on Your iPhone

Blocking unwanted emails on your iPhone is easy. These are the most up-to-date instructions covering iOS 16.2.

Recent iOS changes make it even easier to block emails on your iPhone. Apple no longer retains emails from blocked senders, so you won’t need to drill down into Settings after you block a sender. Previously, a blocked sender could still send emails; however, you wouldn’t receive a notification. Apple fixed this because most people want to avoid receiving emails from a blocked sender.

Here’s how to block emails on an iPhone running the latest version of iOS (16.3):

  1. Open the Mail app. Your email inbox appears.
  2. Find the email of the sender you wish to block.
  3. Hold your finger down on the email until you feel a slight click. A popup menu appears.
  4. Tap on “Block Sender”. You may need to scroll down on the popup menu to see this option.

That’s it. Your sender is blocked. You’ll see old emails from this sender with a sign of suppression icon in the right corner.

It’s important to understand that blocked emails still appear in your original account. For example, if you use Gmail, blocked emails will still be delivered to their servers. If you go to the Gmail website, you’ll still see emails from the blocked sender.

We’ll take a look at how to block these emails in Gmail later in the article. In fact, if you really want to stop a sender, blocking them at the service level will also block them on your iPhone. It’s a better way to go if you also use your email service’s web-based or desktop client.

How to Unblock Emails on Your iPhone

Now that we’ve covered how to block emails on your iPhone, let’s look at how to unblock them if you change your mind:

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap on Mail > Blocked. A list of blocked accounts appears.
  3. Tap the Edit button on the top right. Red “-” icons appear next to each entry.
  4. Tap the red “-” icon for the blocked contact you wish to restore. An “Unblock” button appears next to the contact.
  5. Tap on the “Unblock” button. The contact is now unblocked and removed from the list.
  6. Tap “Done” on the top right.

How to Block Emails From Your Provider

Given that the iPhone is a relatively new device, most of us had an email account before owning any smartphone. When we purchased an iPhone, we integrated our existing account into the Mail app.

When you block a sender in the Mail app, it does just that. It only stops the appearance of the sender’s email. Your mail server still receives the email. You’ll still see these emails if you log in to your email account over the web. The sender even sees a sent email in their client app.

Blocking a sender in iOS is just a mask. They’re still sending email. Your account is still getting the email. It’s just that the iOS Mail app doesn’t show the sender. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you restore the blocked contact, you’ll be able to access all of the emails they sent while “blocked.” Also, the blocked sender won’t have any idea of this status. As far as they’re concerned, you’re getting the emails they send.

Email is a very old system that hasn’t changed much in decades. There’s no mechanism for the iOS Mail app to block a sender at the SMTP/POP server level. If you want to stop a sender, you must do it on your email app.

  1. There are many email service providers, but Gmail is the most popular. So let’s take a look at how to block emails on Gmail:
  2. Open a web browser, navigate to https://www.gmail.com and log in to the service. The Gmail inbox appears.
  3. Find an email from a sender you wish to block and click on it to open it. The email’s detail view appears.
  4. Click on the three vertical dots on the far right of the sender’s email address. A popup menu appears.
  5. Click on the menu option to block the sender. A message pops up to confirm blocking the sender.
  6. Click on “Block” to stop receiving messages from the sender and flag the account as spam.

As you can see, this is a far deeper level of blocking than your iPhone allows. The sender will know they are blocked. This may be desirable, but there’s a downside. They may email you from a different address if they’re a spammer. Then you’re playing whack-a-mole, blocking them every time they re-appear.

Apple can’t block a sender on the server for technical reasons, but it may also be a blessing in disguise. After all, you just want a clean inbox. If blocking the sender at the email service level has them sending you junk from a different address, then mute them in iOS. They’ll think you’re still getting the emails, so they probably won’t try to spam you from a different address.

Of course, if you block a user superficially, as with iOS, your email account will end up filling up with garbage. At some point, your email service may force you to either pay for the extra storage or spend hours deleting emails.

In my experience, blocking spammers at the service level is best. In other words, if you use Gmail on your iPhone, you should block senders using the Gmail website. If you do this, your email account won’t accumulate unnecessary emails you’ll need to delete later. It could also save you money because most email services charge for storage after a certain point.

I’m not very good at managing my emails. I keep everything and don’t block spammers. Because of this, I have to spend over $100 a year for extra storage. Most of the stuff I’m storing is junk mail, but some is valuable. It came to the point that sorting through it all cost me more time than it was worth.

Don’t be like me. If you’re more proactive, your email account will be lean and manageable and won’t cost a cent. Beyond costs, every time I try to search for an email, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If you follow the instructions in this guide, your email experience will be better and cost-free.

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