Short answer: you can’t! Not without taking to some other communication method to confirm your suspicion that your email is blocked.
Hi, I’m Aaron. I’ve worked in and around technology for the better part of two decades. I also used to be a lawyer!
Let’s dig into why you can’t directly tell if someone blocked your email on Gmail and some of the options you have for addressing your concerns.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- How Email Works
- So Why Can’t I Tell If My Email is Blocked?
- How Can I Tell If My Email is Blocked?
- How Do I Know If Someone Blocked My Email in Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.?
- If You Block Someone on Gmail, Can They Still Email You?
- How to Tell If Someone Blocked Your Email on iPhone
- If Someone Blocked Your Number Can You Email Them?
- If Someone Blocked Me on Gmail, Can I See Their Profile Picture?
- Email has never and likely will never facilitate automated notifications that your email is blocked.
- Your best bet to validate email receipt is to message your recipient.
- Other tools are unlikely to help your situation.
- Google may have provided hints previously, but has since stopped that.
How Email Works
I discussed the intricacies of how email works here. The short version: email gateway servers route emails to and from destinations with the only validation being name resolution. Once the servers validate that the sender and recipient information is correct, their jobs are done and the email is sent without fanfare.
Here’s a somewhat technical explanation of that concept in the cybersecurity context, via YouTube.
So Why Can’t I Tell If My Email is Blocked?
Because that’s not how email transmission has worked and it’s unlikely to work that way in the future.
Seriously, email is one of the oldest functions on the world wide web and has only changed to keep up with new developments in content delivery, like the incorporation of Rich Text Format or HyperText Markup Language (HTML).
Other developments with respect to email involve the ecosystem around email: encryption, malicious code scanning, etc. None of that impacts how the underlying email functionality works–they’re only additive functionality.
Some email clients allow you to send read receipts. They prompt the recipient’s email server to send you an email response that your email was received. This is entirely optional and a recipient can elect not to send a read receipt.
More importantly, Gmail doesn’t provide read receipt functionality for consumer gmail. Gmail does have read receipts if you use the corporate or educational Google Workspace licensing.
How Can I Tell If My Email is Blocked?
Message the recipient. You can use your preferred method of messaging, whether that be SMS text messaging, Google Hangouts, social media, or any of the widely available secure messaging apps.
If your message is completely ignored, that’s very telling that your email might be blocked. If you receive a response, however, the recipient may inform you that you mistyped their email address or that the email hit their junk or spam folder.
It’s always a good idea, if you’re concerned about your email being received, to directly message your recipient via some other communication mechanism.
At this point you may be asking yourself: so why did I send an email in the first place?
Without turning this strawman into a lesson in internet etiquette, there are lots of great reasons to send an email. Practically anything for which you may send a letter, you’ll want to send an email. It’s a more formal modality of communication and sometimes the situation just calls for that.
Here are my answers to some relevant questions you may have.
How Do I Know If Someone Blocked My Email in Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.?
Similar to Gmail, there’s no direct way to know that. You can send your email with a read receipt and you may receive that back. Otherwise, you’ll want to message your recipient to see if they received your email.
If You Block Someone on Gmail, Can They Still Email You?
Yes! You can’t prevent someone from drafting and sending an email–at the time they hit the send button, it’s extremely unlikely that their email gateway has even resolved the transmission. Even when it does, it doesn’t know that you blocked them.
Remember: once sender and recipient are identified, the email servers’ jobs are largely done. That being said, you won’t receive the email in your inbox.
How to Tell If Someone Blocked Your Email on iPhone
You can’t! While iPhones are wondrous devices, they can’t tell you anything more than they’re able to process. Since email resolution on iPhones (even through the Mail app) happens through an email server that can’t tell if your email is blocked, the iPhone can’t magically tell that.
If Someone Blocked Your Number Can You Email Them?
Yes! Your phone number is likely managed by an entirely different service provider than your email via an entirely different system. So if someone blocks your phone number, that’s only effective to block your phone number. That being said, if they block your phone number, they’ve probably also blocked your email.
If Someone Blocked Me on Gmail, Can I See Their Profile Picture?
Yes! There are a few guides available on the internet that suggest adding someone to your Google Contacts or messaging someone in Google Hangouts. If their profile picture doesn’t appear, then you know you’re blocked!
I can’t confirm whether or not this was legacy functionality–it certainly seems to have been based on the volume of comments around this–but personal testing shows it to no longer be the case. Google not only passes the profile picture after your email is blocked, but it will also pass through changes to the profile picture.
If someone blocks your email on gmail, there’s no direct way to determine whether or not that happened. This is because of how email works. There’s no way to circumvent that. You can message someone directly and their response, or lack thereof, will help inform whether your email is blocked.
How do you follow-up on important emails? Let us know in the comments below!