Apple Mail rules problems / alternatives?

I have Apple Mail running on Catalina (current updates), and I have a rule that basically reads:

if (from a sender, with a subject) then (forward to an address)

The forward doesn’t work. I can swap out actions (archive instead of forward), and it works fine - it just won’t forward.

From some Googling, it feels like this might just be a glitch in Mail, so I’m wondering if anybody can suggest a good alternative specifically for having a local “server” that runs mail rules to sort mail. The ability to automatically forward a message is really the only thing that seems to be broken here, so that would be an important feature. :slight_smile:


Looks like forwarding can be set up on Click the gear icon to set up a rule

Unfortunately this is for my custom domain email, so managing through really isn’t a good solution.

1 Like

And your email provider doesn’t offer server side rules? Thunderbird has always been my go to program for complex email rules. Good luck.

I can do it at Fastmail if I really want to, but their rule management interface is horrible IMHO. I’ll look at Thunderbird - thanks!

1 Like

Exchange, Gmail and other providers will do that as well, so it can be done remotely, which should be preferable but will not always be the case (e.g. email is hosted on a private mail server and deals with security related data the company would not like to be handled by google, microsoft etc).

If a local server is a must, you could try to use other mail apps that will handle rules such as MailMate and Airmail. If this is also not an option, then I guess that, with this Mail’s apparent glitch (which I also had), you’re out of luck.

1 Like

Yeah, I’m looking for a local app to handle it. I just haven’t found the web-based rules to be compelling where I am, and I refuse to do Gmail. :slight_smile:

Do you have a local app you prefer for that sort of thing? Or do you do all your filtering at the provider?

My mistake. I misread the original post and thought @webwalrus was using iCloud mail.

I can attest to the quality of Gmail’s server side rules. I’ve been a Gmail user since ‘04 and Google has hosted my two personal domains almost as long. All my filtering and filing is done server side which is especially nice since I’m 90% IOS.


Mailmate is the ultimate “email for geeks” (said fondly). Not the prettiest interface but tremendously customizable, including rules. For a secondary email app that runs in the background for forwarding purposes, it would be a great choice.



I would definitely go with Mozilla Thunderbird.

1 Like

To be honest, I’m on the remote server bandwagon since my firm moved to Office 365.

While I still love the granularity and the AppleScript richness of Mail rules, it is an inferior solution when it comes down to having your Mail pre-sorted on mobile.

Yep, Mailmate the ultimate Mac mail client. That said I do sort some mail on Fastmail first.

1 Like