Chances are your mailbox contains a mix of important messages, shipping notices, invoices, newsletters you never read and other unimportant mail.
But spam eventually creeps in… Sometimes you do it yourself – by entering your email to win this contest – and sometimes others do it for you. Fortunately, there are easy ways to delete unwanted email, without having to send messages to the sender.
The easiest way to unsubscribe from a list is to use the built-in unsubscribe option. This link is usually hidden at the bottom of the message, in very small print or in a way that doesn’t look like a link, so that you stay subscribed
(The unsubscribe link is unlikely to be a trap to confirm that your mail is active, but be smart: if something looks fishy in a mail, just delete it).
Gmail makes it easy to unsubscribe. When it notices an unsubscribe link in a message, it places its own unsubscribe link at the top of the message, right next to the sender’s email address. It sometimes appears in place of the Spam icon in the toolbar. Click on it and a giant unsubscribe button appears.
On mobile, press the three-dot menu at the top; if the sender offers an easy unsubscribe option, the word Unsubscribe will appear in the menu.
Read more: Saving mail to a USB stick
Unsubscribing with Microsoft Outlook
Prominent unsubscribe links can also be found on Outlook.com and in the Outlook applications. On the Web, it says “Getting too much email? Unsubscribe” at the top of a supported message.
With Apple’s iOS Mail app
In the integrated iOS Mail app, look for a banner that says “This message is from a mailing list. Unsubscribe” at the top of your messages, which will send an email to the sender with the unsubscribe request.
Edison Mail for iOS, macOS and Android displays a large unsubscribe button at the top of a message (with a resubscribe button if you change your mind). Edison Mail also offers a message blocking option, so you never see anything from the sender again.
Interestingly, not all mail applications recognize unsubscribe links in the same way, or support them in the same messages. Fortunately, when using mobile applications that support multiple services (usually Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo and IMAP accounts), you can unsubscribe on all services.
Want to unsubscribe from a large number of emails? Several services allow you to do so. The downside: you have to give these services full access to your inbox for them to find messages with an unsubscribe option; sometimes this includes your contacts. As Heinlein said: TANSTAAFL.
Available on the Web or via a mobile app, Unroll.me scans the core of your Outlook.com, Gmail/GSuite, Yahoo Mail and Aol email accounts to locate messages you probably don’t want. You can also try an email address from another service.
In return, you get a list of all the senders you could refuse; choose the ones you don’t want, and Unroll.me does the rest. Unroll.me also offers a service called “The Rollup”, which allows you to re-subscribe to certain shipments, but these will come to you via Unroll.me in a daily digest. You can change (or deactivate) The Rollup at any time.
Unroll.me is free, but it wants full access to your messages and contacts. Its parent company says it ignores personal emails and anonymizes the messages it sees, but it uses all the data to sell market research.
Polymail’s Unsubscriber service isn’t the cheapest ($19), but that’s because it doesn’t make money selling your information to marketing companies and third parties. Created by Polymail, the site requires you to sign in via your Google account, then offers comprehensive bulk unsubscribe and archive tools.
Leave Me Alone
With Leave Me Alone, you pay for credits ($2.50 per 50 emails) that you can use to unsubscribe; one unsubscribe per credit. It supports Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, iCloud, Aol and all IMAP accounts. Connect them all. There is also an account option for large teams.
A single account with Clean Email costs $29.99 a year, or you can make up to five users for $49.99 a year or $99.99 a year for a full team (there are more expensive monthly options starting at $7.99). Like many others, Clean Email offers a web-based interface that consolidates your web-based email services (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, IMAP accounts) into one large inbox that can be cleaned up with a few clicks, from bulk unsubscribing and blacklisting senders to setting filters and rules.