How to Only get Notifications for Certain Emails

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Concerned about missing something important if you disable email notifications? Custom notifications should be one of your tools.

But before you start creating custom notifications, you need to understand why most people leave them on. Understanding the underlying reason allows you to predict the effectiveness of custom notifications.

Custom notifications allow you to only receive emails that meet certain criteria (e.g., sent from your supervisor, marked as high importance).

Here’s how to do it in popular email clients and platforms:


  1. Allow Gmail browser notifications
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right of Gmail.
  3. Click on ‘Settings’.
  4. Select ‘Important mail notifications on’ under ‘Desktop Notifications’.
  5. Click ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom.
  6. Go to ‘Settings’
  7. Filters and Blocked Addresses
  8. Click the ‘New Filter’ button (you may need to scroll to the bottom of the page)
  9. In the ‘From’ field, type the name or email address of the person you want to receive custom notifications for, and click ‘Continue’.
  10. ‘Always mark as important’ followed by ‘Create filter’


  1. To set up custom notifications for someone, click on their email.
  2. Choose ‘Home’ from the top left menu.
  3. Click on ‘Rules’ in the ribbon.
  4. Click ‘New Rule’.
  5. Select the sender’s name under ‘When I get an email with all selected conditions’.
  6. Display in the New Item Alert window and/or play a selected sound

iPhone Mail:

  1. Open Mail
  2. Tap Mailboxes in the top left corner.
  3. Tap the VIP inbox below your regular inbox.

Adding a VIP

  1. Tap on the name of the VIP contact. (If a contact is grayed out, you need their email address to add them.)
  2. Tap the I in the VIP inbox row.
  3. Tap VIP Alerts
  4. Enable notifications

Gmail for iPhone

  1. Repeat steps 1-5 for ‘Gmail’.
  2. Open Gmail
  3. Select “Menu” from
  4. Scroll down and tap ‘Settings’.
  5. Select ‘Notifications’ from an account.
  6. Select ‘High priority only’.

Android Gmail

  1. Repeat steps 6-9 for ‘Gmail’.
  2. Select ‘Apply the label’ and add the label for all VIP contacts.
  3. Open Gmail
  4. Tap the top left menu.
  5. Scroll down and tap ‘Settings’.
  6. Tap an account, then ‘Manage labels’.
  7. Tap the label you just linked to your VIP contact and select ‘Label notifications’.