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How to Check Your Spam Folder in Gmail and Outlook

how to check spam folder

This article is a step-by-step guide with screenshots on how to find and manage the spam folder in your Gmail and Outlook mailboxes on the web app and mobile devices.

We will cover:

  • Different ways to mark emails as spam
  • How to find the spam folder
  • How to unspam emails
  • How to whitelist important email addresses
  • And more

This Article Contains:

(Click on the links below to jump to a section.)

All About Gmail Spam Folders

All About Outlook Spam Folders

More Sections

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

What Is a Spam Folder?

A spam folder (often called a junk mail folder or junk mailbox) is created by mail servers to store emails marked as unsolicited or malicious.

Sometimes, your email service provider’s spam filters automatically mark an important email as spam, and you need to search for that email in your spam folder.

Wondering what spam filters are?

Read my detailed article on what they are and how to avoid them.

Many inbox providers, like Gmail and Yahoo, automatically delete emails that have been in the spam folder for more than 30 days. However, Microsoft Outlook cleans spam folders every two weeks.

How to Find Gmail’s Spam Folder and Delete Spam Emails

Finding the spam box or folder in your Gmail interface can be a bit tricky.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can find your spam folder in Gmail’s web interface and mobile app. I’ll also show you how you can delete spam emails to clear up your spam folder:

A. Using the Web App

Here’s how to find Gmail’s spam folder in the web app:

  1. Log in to Gmail from your computer.
  2. Scroll down on the left sidebar that displays all the folders, including your inbox.
  3. Click on the More option and scroll down to find the Spam Folder.

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  1. Click on the Spam folder (indicated with an exclamation icon).

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  1. To delete a single spam email, select it and click the bin icon at the extreme right to delete it.

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  1. To delete all the spam emails in the folder, click the check box at the top-left to select all messages and click Delete Forever.

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  1. You can also empty your spam folder in one click. All you have to do is click Delete all spam messages now from the notification that appears above.

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B. Using the Mobile App

Here’s how to navigate the Gmail app to find its Spam folder:

  1. Open the Gmail app on your iPhone or Android device.
  2. Click the three bars (also known as the burger menu) in the upper-left corner to open the main menu.

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  1. Scroll down and you’ll find the Spam folder.

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  1. To clear your Spam folder in one go, tap on Empty Spam now at the top.

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  1. To delete a single message, select the message, and tap delete (bin icon) at the top right.

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Want to get the most out of Gmail?

Check out 20 awesome add-ons and extensions you can use in Gmail. 

How to Report or Block Spam in Gmail

If you want to move unwanted emails to spam in Gmail, you can either report the emails or block them.

Although both options send the emails to your spam folder, Report Spam doesn’t get rid of the spam address for good — it just moves the existing email to spam.

Block ensures you don’t get any future emails from the address, too.

Here’s how you do it on the web and mobile versions:

A. How to Report or Block Spam on the Gmail Web App

You can block email addresses from Gmail’s More Menu option or Search bar.

Messages from blocked email addresses will automatically go to the spam folder.

Here’s how you can block/report spam from the web and phone.

a. How to Report or Block Spam from the More Menu on the Web App

This is an easy method to block opened spam emails in a snap. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Open the email message you want to block.
  2. Click the three vertical dots (More menu) beside Reply.

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  1. Select Block [sender] or Report spam from the drop-down list.

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  1. When you click Block [sender], you’ll get a confirmation pop-up. Click Block in the pop-up to block the sender.

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  1. If you click Report spam from the drop-down menu, the selected message will go directly to the spam folder.
  2. If you click Report spam on an email that you’ve subscribed to, a confirmation pop-up will appear with the options: Report spam & unsubscribe and Report spam.

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If this is the only message from the sender that you want to be marked as spam, click Report spam.

If you want to unsubscribe as well, select the other option.

Quick Tip

You can also Report spam without opening an email message. If you suspect an email to be spam from the subject line itself,  just click the checkbox to select the email you want to mark as spam.

From the options that appear on the top, select the Report spam icon (exclamation mark).

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b. How to Report or Block Spam from the Search Bar on the Web App

You can use Gmail’s search bar to block spam emails:

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the Show Search Options triangle icon at the extreme right of the search bar.

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  1. Add the email address or domain name you want to block to the From field.

If you want to block multiple email addresses, use the vertical bar (|) or comma (,) between email addresses or domain names.

  1. Click Create Filter.

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  1. From the new dialog box that appears, choose “Delete it.”

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  1. Click Create Filter and the email address or domain will be blocked.

B. How to Report or Block Spam from the Gmail Mobile App

Here’s how you can report or block spam from the Gmail mobile app:

Method 1:

To Block an email from your phone, open the email and tap the More Menu in the top right of the message.

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Method 2:

To Report spam, open the email and click the More Menu at the top right of the Gmail interface.

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How to Unspam Emails in Gmail

Sometimes even legitimate emails get delivered to your spam folder for a variety of reasons.

Here’s how to unspam emails (move them from Spam to your primary inbox) in Gmail.

A. How to Unspam Emails on the Gmail Web App

Follow this three-step process to unspam emails from Gmail’s web interface:

  1. Go to your spam folder.
  2. Select the message you want to remove from the folder.
  3. Click Not Spam from the options that appear above.

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B. How to Unspam Emails on the Mobile App

Here’s how to move your emails from your spam folder to your inbox on the Gmail mobile:

  1. Go to your spam folder.
  2. Select the email you removed from your spam folder.
  3. Tap on the More Menu option at the top right.

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  1. Select Report not spam.

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How to Whitelist Important Email Addresses in Gmail

Whitelisting helps you ensure that emails from particular addresses and domains never end up in your spam folder.

Here’s how you do it on the web and mobile app.

A. How to Whitelist Email Addresses on the Gmail Web App

Here’s how you can whitelist email addresses and domains in your Gmail account:

  1. Login to Gmail and select the Settings (gear icon) at the top right corner.
  2. Click See all settings.

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  1. Go to Filters and Blocked Addresses and click on Create New Filter.

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  1. Enter the email address that you want to whitelist in the From field and click on Create Filter.

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  1. Select Never send it to Spam from the checklist that appears and click Create Filter.

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All the emails from the whitelisted email IDs or domains will now be delivered to your Gmail inbox.

B. How to Whitelist Email Addresses on the Gmail Mobile App

Here’s how you whitelist email addresses in the Gmail app:

  1. Tap and hold the email from the address you want to whitelist.
  2. Tap the three dots (Menu) in the upper right corner and select Move to.

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  1. From the dialog box that appears, choose Primary to move the email there.

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All future emails from the sender will now always land in the Primary tab of your inbox.

Want to improve your Gmail experience?

Check out my comprehensive guides on:

How to Find Outlook’s Spam Folder and Delete Spam Emails

Locating the spam folder and deleting spam in Outlook is pretty easy:

A. How to Delete Spam Emails on the Outlook Web App

This is how you can find the Junk Email folder in Outlook.com.

  1. Open your Outlook account.
  2. In the Folders tab on the left, click Junk Email. (On the web app, this is the name Outlook uses for the spam folder.)

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  1. Select the message you want to delete from Junk Email and click Delete at the top.

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  1. To clear your Junk Email folder, just click the Empty folder option at the top.

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B. How to Delete Spam Emails on the Outlook Mobile App

In its mobile app, the Junk Email folder is known as the Spam folder.

Follow these three steps to find it:

  1. Open your Outlook app.
  2. Click the burger icon at the top left.

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  1. You’ll find the Spam folder in the list, where you can view your spam messages.

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  1. To delete a single email from Spam, select the email and click on the bin icon (delete) at the top right.

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  1. To clear your Spam folder, just click Empty Spam at the top left.

How to Mark Emails as Spam in Outlook

Here’s how you can quickly mark emails as spam in Outlook:

A. How to Mark Emails as Spam on the Outlook Web App

Here’s how you can mark emails as spam in Outlook.

  1. Select the email or emails and click on the Junk icon at the top of the screen.
  2. Select Junk from the drop-down to instantly move them to the Junk folder.

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B. How to Mark Emails as Spam on the Outlook Mobile App

Here’s how you can send spammy emails to the junk folder in the Outlook app:

  1. Select the email you want to send to the junk folder. You can also select multiple other emails after selecting the first one.
  2. If you’re an Android user, tap the three-dot Menu icon in the top right.

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  1. Select Move to spam.

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  1. If you’re an iOS user, tap the folder/arrow icon at the bottom and select Spam.

How to Block Spam Email Addresses in Outlook

Here’s how you can easily block an email address in Outlook.

Note: You can’t block email addresses/domains from Outlook’s mobile app.

  1. Select an email/emails you want to block from your Inbox.
  2. Click on the Junk tab at the top.

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  1. From the drop-down, select Block.

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  1. Click OK from the confirmation pop-up. And it’s done.

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How to Unblock and Unspam Emails from Junk Folder in Outlook

If you’ve blocked an email address by mistake or had a legitimate email end up in spam, follow these steps:

A. How to Unblock and Unspam Emails on the Outlook Web App

Here’s how you can unblock and unspam emails on the web app:

i. How to Unblock Emails on the Outlook Web App

  1. Go to Settings and select View all Outlook settings.

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  1. Select Mail and click Junk email.

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  1. Click the bin icon at the right of the address/domain you want to unblock and click Save.

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ii. How to Unspam Emails on the Outlook Web App

  1. Open Junk Email.
  2. Select the messages you want to mark as not spam.
  3. Select Not junk from the Not Junk tab at the top toolbar.

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  1. You can also open an email in the junk folder and click It’s not junk at the top.

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B. How to Unspam Emails on the Outlook Mobile App

You can’t unblock email addresses in Outlook’s mobile app.

However, you can still remove the important emails from the junk folder to your mail inbox.

Here’s how you can unspam emails in the Outlook app:

a. For Android Users

  1. Go to the Spam folder.

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  1. Open the email you want to move to your inbox.
  2. Click the three dots at the top right corner.

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  1. Select Move to Folder.

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  1. Select Inbox from the pop-up and click OK.

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b. For iOS Users

  1. Go to the Spam folder.
  2. Tap Edit at the top right corner.
  3. Select the email you want to move to the inbox from junk.
  4. Choose Mark at the bottom left.
  5. Tap Mark as Not Junk.

How to Whitelist Email Addresses in Outlook

Here’s how you can whitelist email addresses and domains to ensure that emails from them never end up in your Junk folder:

A. How to Whitelist Email Addresses on the Outlook Web App

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can whitelist addresses and domains on Outlook.com:

  1. Click on Settings and go to View all Outlook settings.

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  1. Select Mail and then click on Junk email.

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  1. Go to the Safe senders and domains section.

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  1. Click +Add and enter the email address/domain in the box that appears below it.

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  1. Press enter and click Save.

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B. How to Whitelist Email Addresses on the Outlook Mobile App

To whitelist email addresses via the Outlook app, all you have to do is:

  1. Open an email whose address you want to whitelist in the Other folder.
  2. Tap the three dots (Menu) at the top right corner of the screen.

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  1. Tap Move to Focused Inbox.

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  1. In the pop-up box that appears, select Move this and all future messages and tap Move to folder.

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What’s the Focused Inbox in Outlook?

The Focused Inbox in Outlook contains all your important emails while the other not-so-important ones automatically go to the Others tab.

Since you can’t access the safe senders and domains option in the mobile app, you can opt for this method instead.

To change your Inbox into a Focused Inbox, all you have to do is:

  1. Go to Settings.

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  1. Turn the toggle on beside the Focused Inbox.

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Why Do Emails Go to Spam Folders?

A spam filter detects and blocks unwanted emails based on three major factors.

1. Spammy Email Content

Spam filters rigorously check the email content in the email body, header, and subject line.

Any email subject line and email body that has spam trigger words like “Free” or “You are the Winner,” etc., will usually be marked as spam.

2. Poor Sender Reputations

Verify your email list before you send emails to any addresses in them.

Sending emails to disposable email addresses, spam traps, or inactive accounts will result in hard bounces and spam complaints. This, in turn, brings down your sender reputation and domain reputation.

As a result, spam filters will start to mark most emails you send as spam.

3. No Email Authentications

Any legitimate email address and sending domain should be verified and authenticated with SPF record, DKIM record, and DMARC record.

Here’s a breakdown of what these are:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): helps identify whether an authorized mail server was used to send the email.
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): applies encrypted signatures to verify whether emails are fake.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): helps senders validate email protection via SPF and DKIM authentications.

These protocols help spam filters recognize emails as legitimate — keeping them out of the spam folder. However, if these protocols are absent, spam filters will have a hard time verifying the email, and it could end up flagged as spam.

Final Thoughts

While spam folders can be a bit tricky to find in major mailbox providers like Gmail and Outlook, just follow the steps I’ve listed here, and you should have no trouble finding them.

And if you want to ensure that your emails don’t end up as spam, why not try out a powerful email marketing tool like GMass?

It works inside Gmail and has advanced features like custom tracking domains and Spam Solvers to help your emails avoid ending up in your recipient’s spam folder!

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