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How to whitelist an email in Gmail, Outlook, and more

By Stacy Kimbell

May 27, 2024

Imagine eagerly anticipating an important email, only to find it missing from your inbox. After a brief search, you discover it sitting in the spam folder. 

Machine learning algorithms play a pivotal role in email spam filtering. In 2023, approximately 45.6% of global emails were classified as spam.

While this helps keep our inboxes clean, errors can happen. Essential or non-malicious emails may be mistakenly marked as spam, leading to missed opportunities.

To avoid such mishaps, consider whitelisting trusted email senders. This ensures that desired emails securely reach your primary inbox. In this article, we’ll explore how to whitelist an email sender across various email service providers. 

Let’s dive in.

What is email whitelisting?

Whitelisting or safelisting plays a crucial role in email security. It tells your email service provider that you trust the sender.

When a sender is accidentally blacklisted, their emails might end up in spam. Factors such as email content, sender reputation, and user engagement can also cause important emails to be flagged as spam.

Imagine you make an online purchase and await confirmation in your inbox. If you don’t receive an email, you may worry about the transaction’s status.

This is why knowing how to whitelist an email is crucial for everyone. It helps manage inboxes efficiently and prevents the loss of critical information.

Moreover, this practice is equally significant in professional environments. It ensures that important client communications or business updates are received promptly.

How to whitelist an email on major platforms

Each email service provider has its interface. This means that the steps to whitelist an email address differ. Nonetheless, the principle remains constant. It involves adding the sender to your approved contacts, thus ensuring their emails bypass the spam folder.

Nevertheless, let’s explore how to whitelist emails on different service providers.

Whitelisting on Gmail

Gmail filters approximately 0.05%, or 1 in every 2,000 legitimate emails, to spam. This is a meager percentage. Still, checking your spam folder regularly is advisable to avoid missing important messages.

Here’s how to add a sender to your Gmail whitelist:

  1. Sign in to Gmail.
  2. Select the gear icon at the top right-hand side. Then, choose “See all settings” from the menu.
  3. Go to the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab to view your active filters. Next, click on “Create a new filter.”


Image via personal inbox
  1. Input the domain or email address you’d like to whitelist in the “From” field.
  2. Confirm by clicking “Create filter.”
  3. Check the box beside “Never send it to Spam” to add the address to your Gmail safe sender list.
  4. Once again, select “Create filter.” This will save your settings.

With Gmail’s filter settings, you could even star emails, label them, or take other actions to better organize your inbox.

Unfortunately, Gmail for mobile lacks advanced filter creation. However, you can still add senders to your whitelist from the spam folder.

Simply open the app and go to the Junk or Spam folder. Select the email you want to view and choose “Report not spam.” Hereon, you won’t miss any communications from this sender.

Whitelisting on Outlook

To whitelist an email domain on Outlook, you add it to a category named “Safe senders.” This ensures that emails from whitelisted sources bypass Outlook’s spam filters.

Here’s how to whitelist an email in Outlook using the web client:

  1. Log in to your Outlook account using a web browser.
  2. Click the settings icon at the top right-hand side to access Settings.
  3. In the sidebar on the left-hand side, select “Mail.” After that, head over to “Junk email.”


Image via personal inbox
  1. In “Safe senders and domains,” click on the “+Add” button.
  2. Enter the email account(s) you want to whitelist, then click “Save.”

You also have the option to include a sender who has emailed you directly into the existing Outlook Contacts list. This approach could be faster and more effective than manually inputting the details.

On the Outlook mobile app, navigate to a message from a sender you want to whitelist. 

Next, click the three dots located at the top. From the options provided, select “Move to Focused Inbox.” A popup window will appear, prompting you to click “Always Move” to confirm your decision.

Whitelisting on Yahoo Mail

Moving a sender to the Yahoo Mail whitelist is more straightforward than other providers. If a message from a sender has been classified as spam, open it and mark it as “Not Spam.”

But if the individual you wish to whitelist hasn’t contacted you yet, here are the steps to whitelist an address:

  1. Click the Settings icon. Now, select “More Settings.”
  2. Choose Filters, then click “Add new filters.” From there, input the sender’s domain name. This ensures all future emails from the sender appear in your primary inbox.


Image via personal inbox

The process of whitelisting emails is just as intuitive in the Yahoo Mail mobile app. Simply tap the “+” symbol next to the sender’s email address. Then, select “Add to contacts” to ensure their messages go to your primary inbox.

Whitelisting on Apple Mail

Apple Mail serves as both an email client and a service provider. It allows users to check and receive emails from various accounts.

In any case, here are the steps to whitelist email addresses in Apple Mail:

  1. Open the sender’s most recent message.
  2. Click on their email address.
  3. A small box will appear, allowing you to add the sender to your VIP contacts. Doing so places their emails in a special tab. Alternatively, choose “Add Contact” to ensure their messages go straight to your primary inbox.


Image via personal inbox

It is also possible to whitelist an email in the Apple Mail app. On the “Mailboxes” screen, go to the “Junk” folder and locate the email you want to whitelist. Simply swipe left on the email and choose the gray box. Then, tap the “Move to Inbox” button to whitelist the email. 

Whitelisting on other email services

With the right steps, you can whitelist an email using any email service provider. Here’s how to do it with some less common email providers.

How to whitelist an email in Zoho Mail

Here’s how to add an email address to the “trusted list” in Zoho Mail:

  1. Go to the Settings menu and select “Anti-Spam List.”
  2. Select the email address tab.
  3. Choose “Whitelist/Blacklist Emails.”
  4. Select “Add new whitelist email” and type out the address.
  5. Confirm the update by pressing “Enter.”

How to whitelist an email in AOL Mail

To whitelist an email sender in AOL Mail, follow this two-step process:

  1. Open the message from the desired sender.
  2. Click on the sender’s name, then select “Add Contact” from the dropdown menu.

How to whitelist an email in Proton Mail

For Proton Mail users:

  1. Go to “Settings” and choose the “Filters” option.
  2. In the whitelist category, click on “Add new filter.”
  3. Enter the email address you wish to whitelist and then click “Save.”

Regularly reviewing whitelisted emails

Over time, changes in email addresses or your priorities can occur. Thus, previously trusted senders may no longer be relevant or trustworthy. 

Here are some suggestions for regularly reviewing whitelisted emails:

  • Establish a regular schedule to review your whitelisted emails
  • Evaluate whether each whitelisted email address is still relevant to your needs
  • Verify that the contact information associated with whitelisted emails is accurate and up-to-date
  • Be vigilant for any phishing emails that may have slipped through because they were from a whitelisted address
  • Delete any whitelisted email senders that are no longer active or trustworthy
  • Stay informed about emerging email security threats to adapt your whitelisting strategy

Following these steps ensures the effectiveness of your whitelisting practices. It reduces the risk of unwanted or malicious emails slipping through the cracks.

Wrap up

If you’ve been pondering “how do I whitelist an email,” hopefully you have your answer now. Many overlook whitelisting emails, perceiving it as a time-consuming process. However, the long-term benefits are substantial. With critical communications readily accessible in your inbox, you’ll save significant time. 

Similarly, if you’re a business owner, advocating for whitelisting can enhance client communication. Encouraging clients to add you to their contacts ensures your emails are well-received. Over time, it could potentially boost your email marketing ROI.

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Stacy Kimbell
Stacy Kimbell
Co-founder & Chief Editor
Stacy Kimbell has nine years of experience in email marketing. She's worked with different email platforms and created many successful email campaigns for online and offline, well-established as well as family businesses. Stacy is excited to share her expertise with readers.

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