How Does Apple's 'Move To Junk' Work With Gmail?

I use gmail for my email accounts but use Apple as my client for both desktop and mobile. Every so often I have a couple emails that aren’t caught by the spam/junk filters. My question is around how is the best way to report this to make sure it’s properly dealt with by Gmail in hopefully preventing similar emails coming through. Should I go into my actual Gmail account and report it that way or is having ‘Move to Junk’ enough do the same thing?

I have set up on my iPhone & iPad but I prefer the Gmail app. If offers more options and push notifications.

One solution would be to install it on your iPhone and use it for notifications and to report spam, etc.

Move to junk in Mail is automatically mapped to Gmail’s spam folder and is the same as marking as spam in any Gmail interface. I just double-checked in Ventura.


That’s what you’ll have to do if you want gmail to (eventually) wise up and put it in its spam folder. Apple Mail does not pass back any kind of “spam alert” to gmail.

I sorta does.

As @cornchip says the junk is in the Gmail spam folder. From there Gmail does whatever it does to mail on that folder. Check with the Gmail docs.

Google provides “Report Spam” options on its apps and in webmail. Why would just moving a message to the Spam folder alert Google? I’ve never found an answer to this question.

AFAIK the Gmail docs only refer to the

and Apple’s docs only discuss iCloud mail.

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Moving an email is the same as clicking Report Spam.

When you click Report spam or manually move an email into your Spam folder, Google will receive a copy of the email and may analyze it to help protect our users from spam and abuse.

Edit: sorry, that’s actually the same as Wayne’s link. The key is that the moving-folder-reports-spam is triggered on the server side, not on the front end in the Gmail client. So it doesn’t matter what client/app/API moved the email so long as Gmail’s server eventually learns about the move.


Thanks everyone for the help. Sounds like as long as the email ends up in the Spam folder it is eventually processed and analyzed by Gmail to help their spam detection.

One solution would be to install it on your iPhone and use it for notifications and to report spam, etc.

I actually have the Gmail app installed specifically for this reason but otherwise not a fan over the stock app. 99% of the time I’m looking in so it’s just easier for me to do it there if possible. Especially since I seem to get things in waves where over the course of a couple weeks I’ll get like 3-5 emails all trying to scam you using a usual method. Right now it’s trying to look like a PayPal receipt and saying to receive funds I’m owed I need to do something.

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But I’ve never looked for help with webmail and the Computer tab had the answer. :grinning:

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I’m mainly an iPad user and it’s quicker for me to create a link in Tasks using than use and I use Tasks and Reminders and display both on my Home Page using Widgets

But the mail folders you see in Apple Mail reside also on Gmail server. Nothing to do with the Gmail app. IF Google uses the contents of the Spam folder or another folder to “learn” from then that is what you are looking for. that is why I pointed to their documentation. I do not have time now to do that research.

That is how other mail services work in my experience, eg Fastmail. Maybe Google does not. Dunno. They have a good reputation for spam detection.

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@cornchip found a reference that confirms Gmail learns from the folder. None of the email servers I used to manage worked that way which is why I had a question.


If I understand you and @cornchip correctly, I no longer need to go to Gmail on the web to mark emails as spam, I can just do so in the and it will carry over to Gmail so that in the future similar messages are sent to the spam folder across my devices?

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I’ve now read the link provided above, and I don’t think it says that it “learns” from items in the Spam folder. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding it, though.

If I am reading it correctly GMail puts incoming items that they think are spam into the Spam Folder. And it seems there is no folder that Gmail “learns from”, and depends on user’s contribution to learning to be via marking.

FastMail does it differently by learning from a designated folder.

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So in other words, I still need to go to Gmail to mark messages as spam, correct?

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Since I may be misunderstanding what is already reported vs what Google has written, perhaps best you to read Google’s support document yourself. You may conclude differently.


Another resource for understanding Gmail is the “Use Gmail with Mail” chapter in the e-book Take Control of Apple Mail – Take Control Books.

I don’t use Gmail myself, but my 95-year-old Dad does on his M1 iMac, so I am often called upon to sort out some confusion. (For the record, Gmail does not appeal to the way my mind works. :slightly_smiling_face:)

I use Gmail in Apple Email only for “subscriptions” for my reading. I do notice that little spam comes through that account, so it appears Google as far as I am concerned deserves their kudos for handling spam. Probably not going to read that book. I rely on Fastmail. I prefer being a customer instead of the product.

I understand. I should have addressed my reply to the topic rather than specifically to you (and perhaps also to @Bmosbacker).

You don’t need to go into the Gmail interface to report spam if you’ve already moved the email into the spam folder.

So, if you’re using the Mail app:

  1. You click move to junk.
  2. The email goes into the spam folder.
  3. Mail syncs with the Gmail backend.
  4. Gmail notices the new email in the spam folder and adds the data to its spam analysis tool.