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Looking at how to unsubscribe from unwanted emails?

This post outlines how to unsubscribe from unwanted emails on Outlook, Gmail and iPhone.

How to unsubscribe from unwanted emails in Outlook

How to unsubscribe from unwanted emails in Gmail

How to unsubscribe from unwanted emails in iPhone

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The tweet illustrates one problem with email: it’s killing our productivity. 

On average, workers receive 121 emails every day and spend 28% of their day merely processing email.  

Incoming email alerts also interrupt concentration. When you react to an email notification, it takes 64 seconds to refocus your attention. 

Average Worker Receives 121 Emails a Day

This means if you receive the average of 121 emails and react to each incoming alert, you’re losing up to two hours of productive work every day. 

To cut down your email processing time so you can focus on more meaningful work, try unsubscribing from some of your marketing emails. 

This article shows you how to unsubscribe from unwanted emails correctly and avoid malicious spam traps. You’ll also learn how to block unwanted spam emails and the danger of third-party email management services.

Marketing Emails and the Law

The ACMA governs communications, and the Spam Act 2003 sets out the rules that regulate marketing emails. 

Businesses that send marketing emails should make it easy for the recipient to opt out of future messages. If you’re already receiving legitimate marketing emails, then you previously gave the sender permission to do so—you’ve subscribed to their mailing list. 

Requesting not to receive any more messages is called unsubscribing. 

Every marketing email that you receive should;

  • Provide clear instructions for how to unsubscribe.

  • Action your unsubscribe request within five working days.

  • Not charge you a fee for the request.

  • Ensure that any unsubscribe link in an email is active for 30 days after sending.

How To Find The Unsubscribe Link in Your Email

Businesses want to keep as many subscribers on their email marketing list as they can. So while nearly all companies comply with regulations and include an unsubscribe link in their emails, most don’t make it easy to spot. 

So, how do you unsubscribe from unwanted emails?

Usually, you’ll find an unsubscribe link buried in the small print at the bottom of an email. 

Here is an example from Fitbit. While the ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ text stands out, it’s not the usual colour blue that signifies a link out to a web page. 

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Here is another example from Lenovo. The link is again concealed in the footer, but you can tell that it’s a web page link. Unfortunately, Lenovo mixes it with several other web links, forcing you to hunt around to find it.

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When you click an unsubscribe link in an email, it typically sends you to a page that confirms your request. 

Sometimes it’s an automatic process. However, occasionally you need to verify your action to complete the request. 

If a business operates several email marketing newsletters covering different topics, you may see the option to unsubscribe from more than one email marketing newsletter. 

A Warning About Email Unsubscribe Links

One caveat for clicking unsubscribe links is you should only click links from marketing emails you’ve requested to receive.

What is a Spammer?

Spammers send out junk emails in bulk, and they use sophisticated software to guess email addresses. When they send out their emails, they don’t know which addresses are valid or not. 

The unsubscribe links in these emails won’t stop you from receiving future messages. Instead, when clicked, it tells the spammer that a human is interacting with their messages. 

If the spammer learns your email address is valid, and you’re giving their email attention, they will send you more messages. 

Alternatively, the unsubscribe link may send you to a webpage that infects your computer with malware—providing the spammer access to your computer, which they may use for illegal purposes.

So, before you click an unsubscribe link in an email, be sure it’s from a genuine business. If you’re not certain, follow the directions below for handling emails without an unsubscribe link. 

How To Unsubscribe From an Email in Gmail

Gmail provides a one-click method of unsubscribing from marketing emails, saving you the trouble of hunting through an email to find the correct link. 

Gmail scans each one of your incoming emails to identify marketing ones. They then provide you with a shortcut to the unsubscribe link at the top of the email. Here’s an example.

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This feature is only available in Gmail’s desktop client; if you’re using the mobile app, this helpful shortcut won’t show.  You can either look for the unsubscribe link in the footer or use the quick menu to opt out from future messages. 

Access the quick menu by tapping the three dots to the right of the sender details. From the drop-down, select the option to unsubscribe.

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How To Unsubscribe From an Email in Outlook

The Outlook email client also offers a shortcut to unsubscribe from emails quickly. Outlook scans through your marketing emails and adds a shortcut to the unsubscribe link at the top of the email. 

They also add helpful text prompting you to unsubscribe if you’re getting too much email.

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The Outlook mobile app has the same functionality, so you can unsubscribe from unwanted marketing emails when you’re on the go. (If you want to block a sender, you need to use the desktop mail client.) 

How To Unsubscribe From an Email on iPhone

The iPhone mail client provides a one-click shortcut to the unsubscribe link in marketing emails. 

You’ll find it at the top of marketing messages, and iPhone mail also highlights that the message is from a mailing list.  Helping you make a quick decision on whether you want to receive future emails. 

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If you use an Apple Mac, a similar link is displayed in the Apple Mail desktop client.

How To Unsubscribe From an Email Without Unsubscribe Links

With email software providing a one-click method for reducing inbox bloat, unsubscribing from reputable senders is easy. But what do you do when the sender doesn’t include an unsubscribe link or is, even worse, a spammer?

In this situation, treat the message for what it is—junk email. Classifying an email as junk in your mail software is your chance to fight back at disreputable senders. If you mark an email as junk or spam, a report is sent to spam filtering organisations. 

Businesses that send marketing emails need to protect their sending reputation. If a company gets enough spam reports against them, its ability to send future messages can be restricted. It’s not a perfect system, but it does help to reduce the number of spam emails.

Gmail - How To Flag Spam and Block Senders

In Gmail, an icon to report spam sits above each email you open.

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To mark an email as spam in the Gmail smartphone app, you need to click the three-dot menu. You can also unsubscribe from future messages in the same menu.

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Meaning you won’t see any more messages from the sender in your inbox.

Outlook - How To Flag Spam and Block Senders

Outlook also provides a quick shortcut for marking an email as junk. Select the icon shown in the image below and choose an option that best fits: mark it as junk, phishing, or block the sender altogether. 

(A phishing email attempts to entice you to share personal details like your bank details or passwords)

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In the Outlook smartphone app, clicking the three-dot menu gives you quick access for marking an email as spam, too.

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iPhone Email App- How To Flag Spam and Block Senders

To mark an email as spam on the iPhone email app, swipe left on an email to access the contextual menu. Then, select ‘more’, next ‘mark’, and finally ‘move to junk’. 

Your email provider should direct future emails from the sender straight to your junk folder.

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What are Unsubscribing Services?

There are several services on the market to give you more efficient control over the unsubscribing process. These services monitor your inbox and group marketing emails together, giving you the option to unsubscribe in bulk.

Unsubscribe Solutions

Solutions like SaneBox and filter your emails, so you can focus on important emails and deal with less important ones on your schedule. 

The big problem with these services is you need to grant them unfettered access to your inbox. For the service to work, the software needs to read each one of your emails.

How To Unsubscribe From Unwanted Emails Using Third-Party Access To Data

Allowing third-party access to your personal information is a risky step.  In 2017 apologised after being caught selling inbox data it collected to Uber. 

Think carefully before letting an email sorting solution access your email inbox. You wouldn’t want your postal delivery worker opening and sorting your letters before putting them in your letterbox.  However, that’s exactly what you’re asking an unsubscribing service to do for you. 

But, if you’re happy to use a service, pick one that charges a fee and check their privacy policy. Any solution offering a free service is likely selling your data to a third party as part of its business model.  

You can’t avoid using email today, and you can likely use the time you spend processing email more productively elsewhere.  One solution is to cut down the number of emails you receive by unsubscribing from unwanted marketing emails. 

Fortunately, most email software today makes it easy to unsubscribe from future emails with a few mouse clicks or finger taps. 

So, instead of simply deleting that email you don’t want to read, take a few seconds more and unsubscribe instead.  You’re reclaiming future time for yourself, which helps you become a more effective, productive person. 

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