How do I “block” an email address on iCloud?



How do I block an email address on iCloud?


iCloud LogoLike my other post regarding “blocking” email addresses on MobileMe, what I’m going to describe isn’t really blocking in the truest sense of the word. Technically, we are using a server side rule to perform this function and you wouldn’t want to use something like this for a large amount of emails. For that we would recommend a good bayesian Junk mail filter like SpamSeive. But this is an explanation of how to make certain that emails from your ex- (boss, boyfriend, girlfriend, assistant) don’t reach your inbox.

For this example, as mentioned, we are going to be setting up a server side rule to filter a given email address from your Inbox to your Trash folder. This doesn’t delete the message, but it makes it so that it isn’t notifying you of its presence like other new messages. In addition, you can perform a similar function with most email clients, however, as more people are carrying around multiple devices that are accessing their email, it is becoming more important to set up rules like this on servers so that your first line of defense (your mail server, in this case MobileMe) is handling the filtering rather than a later line of defense like a Mail client. In addition, this filter will run independent of your devices so that it isn’t contingent on having your laptop or desktop on to filter your content.

We get requests like this a lot and we are slowly going to be posting how to do things like this which will hopefully empower our users (and clients). However, as always, if you should need assistance, never hesitate to ASK.

  • iCloud email account
  • Email address of the individual you would like to block
  • Pretty much any full web browser…

    NOTE #1: We’ve found some issues with Chrome, but have verified that this procedure works with Firefox and Safari.

    NOTE #2: The iCloud website will not load on iOS devices (iPhones/iPads/iPod touch), you must follow this procedure on a full web browser in Windows or OS X

  1. Click THIS LINK to access the iCloud website.
  2. Login using your iCloud username and password.
  3. Access the web based iCloud email application by clicking the “Mail” icon.
    iCloud Mail Icon
  4. Click the “Preferences” icon in the lower-left corner of the Webmail application and select “Rules” from the pull-down menu.
  5. The “Rules” Preference panel will appear.
    iCloud Rules Preference Panel
  6. Select the “Add a Rule” button in the upper right hand corner of the “Rules” preference panel.
    Add a rule button.
  7. Select “is from” in the “If a message” pull-down menu. Enter the address of the individual whose messages you want moved out of your inbox automatically. Choose the “Move to Folder” option in the “Then” pull down menu and choose the “Trash” folder in the menu below the “Then” pull-down menu.
    iCloud Rule Setup Options
  8. A new line item will appear in the “Rules” preference panel stating that it will “Move messages from” the given address “to the Trash”.
    iCloud Rules Preference Panel After Rule Creation
  9. Continue to add additional rules for additional addresses. Click the “Done” button when finished adding addresses.
  10. Note that any message coming into your account that matches the rules entered by the user now go directly to the “Trash” folder as prescribed and don’t clutter up your Inbox.
  11. That’s it. If you have problems with this procedure and it isn’t working correctly make sure you check to make certain there weren’t any typographical errors with the email address entered into the rule.

31 Comments for this entry

Wendy Bjerke
October 15th, 2012 on 2:15 pm

Your article is AWESOME!! Very informative and helpful!! Thanks!! 🙂

    Greg M.
    October 15th, 2012 on 2:56 pm

    I’m very glad you found it helpful. Enjoy!

Hymar Maya
December 15th, 2012 on 10:08 am

Excelent article , thanks

    Greg M.
    December 17th, 2012 on 1:41 pm

    I’m glad it helped. Cheers!

July 25th, 2013 on 5:37 am

How do I stop someone who manages to send me a you tube mail that stole my contact list and is sending emails in my name now to my contact list people.
Is this a change my change my settings thing.
I did make a rule to block this person but the you tube already has taken them names
On my list and how do I block them.

    Greg M.
    July 25th, 2013 on 9:22 am

    Charlene, it sounds like someone has already harvested your contact list and has those email addresses (including yours) in a database somewhere. Unfortunately, once that happens, there are very few things you can do to stop them from using your email address for this nefarious purpose.

    Generally speaking, the only fail safe way to work through this is to change your email address and then notify your entire contact list that any email sent from your old email address should be considered fraudulent and they should redirect messages from that old email address to their junk mail folder. Unfortunately, most people have so many service based accounts tied into an email address that doing something like this can be problematic, but this is the one cost effective way to resolve this issue. Just make sure whatever service you end up using (if you go this route) that you use a good strong password (at least 8 characters, combination of capital and lower-case letters, with numbers and symbols).

    The second way to handle this is to just ignore it and eventually, as long as the people in your contact list have strong passwords, the spammers won’t be able to get into their webmail accounts and do the same thing to them as they did to you. Eventually it will dwindle down and eventually (for the most part) stop.

    The third way (the most costly way) is the legal route, where forensic data experts, lawyers and courts get involved. If there were monetary damages as a result of the breach with YouTube, then it might be worth it to investigate something like this. Forensic Data experts can usually tell you where the emails originated from at which point (if it is in the US) you might have legal recourse. If it is outside of the US, then it will be very costly to pursue the issue and you are left with options 1 and 2.

    I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you, but once you are on one of these spam lists, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get off of it. My best advice is to always have different strong passwords on your web based services (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter). That way these people can’t use brute force techniques to break into your accounts and cause all of these problems. I also advise users to create new user accounts and not use global sign-on methods via Facebook linking or Google account linking. All of these linked authentication methods may be convenient in the short term, but if someone gets into your Google account, they can see the various services you have used your Google account to log in with and they can wreak havoc in those services as well as your Google account.

    Again, I wish there was a better way to handle something like this, but unfortunately the web is the wild west and once your address is on a database somewhere it is almost impossible to keep it from being used for a bad purpose.

    Thanks for your comment and I hope this information has helped.

Clifton Davault
October 24th, 2013 on 12:54 pm

The procedure in this article doesn’t work for my iPad 4; there is no mail icon ad described.

    Greg M.
    October 24th, 2013 on 1:25 pm

    Hi there Clifton, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, this procedure must be done on a Desktop Computer browser (Safari/Firefox/Chrome) and not on an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. Thanks again for your comment.

November 27th, 2013 on 10:37 am

Will this keep the iMessage from coming to my iPhone? Or will I still receive the message that way?


    Greg M.
    November 27th, 2013 on 10:49 am

    Hi there Jennifer, this article is specifically related to ways of redirecting undesirable email messages in an iCloud account. For blocking iMessages from a particular user, you would want to have a look here.

Jamie Campbell
January 1st, 2014 on 8:51 pm

Thank you…. Great to have rules now if we can just block for real

    Greg M.
    January 2nd, 2014 on 8:35 am

    Agreed. I’ve submitted that to Apple’s feedback site but the more people that submit it, the better the possibility that we may actually see it.

    Thanks for your comment!

March 6th, 2014 on 10:24 pm


It was really a very helpful article for me. Thank you so much for it.

    Greg M.
    March 7th, 2014 on 11:43 am

    I’m glad it was helpful. Thanks so much for your comment.

May 12th, 2014 on 11:41 am

I have no option for preferences or to find anything named rules. Im running firefox.Please help

    Greg M.
    May 12th, 2014 on 12:22 pm

    Jessi, I’ve updated this article to reflect the current webmail application. The “Preferences” menu is now the gear in the lower-left of the page instead of the upper-right. You will find the “Rules” menu item in there. Everything else is basically the same. Thanks for the heads up and best of luck.

July 19th, 2014 on 8:52 pm

Thanks that really helped me cause this email kept spamming me…

    Greg M.
    July 21st, 2014 on 10:07 am

    Hi there Connor, I’m glad it helped you. Thanks for the feedback.

December 7th, 2014 on 1:20 am

I can’t make it to block someone
email me on icloud through iphone4.
It’s i must sign in my icloud acc at ipad
To i can follow the flow to block the email??
Please help me how??

    Greg M.
    December 8th, 2014 on 9:43 am

    Hi there, this process can only be done with a desktop class browser. Here are Apple’s list of supported browsers for use with the iCloud web interface:

    Internet Explorer 10 or later
    Firefox 22 or later
    Google Chrome 28 or later

    OS X:
    Safari 8 or later
    Firefox 22 or later
    Google Chrome 28 or later

    Kindest regards.

John T
May 9th, 2015 on 8:58 am

Thanks works amazing

    Greg M.
    May 21st, 2015 on 12:50 pm

    I’m glad it was helpful John. Kindest regards.

June 5th, 2015 on 1:10 pm

Thanks soooooo much finally a resolution to the prev stalker!!

July 8th, 2015 on 9:52 pm

Great instructions! Easy to follow. Thank you!!

    Greg M.
    July 9th, 2015 on 8:45 am

    You are very welcome. Glad to help!

Ann van Hemert
July 10th, 2015 on 3:38 am

I found this Q and A by trying to search for how to block any email from I have been receiving sexually themed emails and ads for viagra and cialis and many of them come from an icloud account. So I made up my mind to try to block all icloud emails. I tried using *, but it didn’t work and I tried just using the ending as the “if sender contains” this and it didn’t work. Any advice?

    Greg M.
    July 10th, 2015 on 8:58 am

    Hi there Ann…it looks like you are using a Hotmail account. I don’t have a similar article for Hotmail most of my customers are in the Apple world, so iCloud was what they were more interested in…if you’d like me to, I can write up a document for you pertaining to Hotmail (I would of course have to be compensated for writing that custom documentation), but since I suspect you are OK with web based documentation, you might want to look at this link instead:

    There you will find Microsoft’s documentation about how to “Create Rules” on the site. If you happen to prefer my style of documentation, just let me know and I can fill you in on what I think it would take to get you your own instructions similar to what you see on this site. If you are wondering about how to do the same sort of thing for a different email provider you can do a search on your favorite search engine for “[enter your email provider here] webmail create rules and filters”. That should get you on the right track to getting things set up in a way that gives you more control over what you see and those items you don’t want to see. Best of luck, and let me know if I can be of further assistance.

July 26th, 2015 on 6:48 pm

Hi, once I block them is there a way to let them know I am blocking them?

    Greg M.
    July 28th, 2015 on 2:31 pm

    Hi there Kym, most people don’t want people they are blocking/filtering to know they are being blocked/filtered. With Apple’s iCloud service, the user is very limited as to what you can do with the server side rules. Here is what you can do from the iCloud rules:

    1. Move to a Folder
    2. Move to Trash
    3. Forward To

    To do what you are describing is not possible within the Apple iCloud webpage as it currently exists. You could setup your email account in a more fully featured mail client…OS X has Apple Mail built in, Mozilla Thunderbird is a free download and there is a version of Microsoft Outlook for the Mac. Windows users can use Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird and several others that are publicly available. You would need to setup a multistep filter that includes Replying to the sender with a defined message as well as automatically moving the message to the Trash can (see image below of potential solution for OS X’s Mail app).

    Please note the following:

    1. You would not want to do this with spammers. Doing so with spammers alerts the sender of the spam that an actual user is present at that email address and you will likely see an increase in spam traffic as a result of actually replying to unsolicited email.
    2. This will send a message every time that the filter is applied. So if you are dealing with a lot of these it may annoy the sender (maybe this is what you are going for?).
    3. This being a “Client Side” rule, it will only be applied when your mail client is launched and connected to the internet. Unlike the setup demonstrated in this email which is a “server side” rule, which will run independent of whether or not your computer is turned on.
Emily C.
January 13th, 2016 on 10:41 am

Greg, I truly appreciate you giving us the opportunity to learn on how to block/move an unwanted email from iCloud.
This was an extremely helpful to. I especially appreciate the simplicity in which you provide the link and instructions on this process.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and skills with us!!!

    Greg M.
    January 13th, 2016 on 12:55 pm

    Emily…thanks so much for your comment. I’m very glad to hear this content is helpful.