Mail filters on Apple Mail vs Spam

Problem: Mail Rules aren’t used if the email is treated as spam.

There IS a checkbox for this in Mail, see attachment. The problem is, no matter how that box is checked, I see no change to what happens.

If I mark the emails in the Spam folder and manually apply the rules, they are applied (which in my case attach a flag and move them to the trash can).

This is extremely disturbing. I get 20-30 spams per day and I don’t want to see those shitty emails. Now I see a number next to the Spam folder and I have to manually apply the rules to get rid of them.

Any ideas?

I would guess that if you spoke to Apple, this behaviour would be the desired behaviour. It gives you the chance to confirm that they are spam and they will disappear after a certain period of time.

They’ll be making an assumption that if a mail is flagged as spam, there’s no need to run it through your mail filters. Again, sensible and expected behaviour.

I think what the OP is saying is that he’d like to apply a Delete rule BEFORE the message is tagged as spam, and the existence of the “Filter junk mail before applying my rules” option indicates that you can in fact apply rules before the spam detection.

But I think what that option means is not that you’re turning off the spam filtering completely, you just reverse the order of rule<->spam filtering. You just delay it. Even if rules are applied, it looks from the OP’s experience that spam filtering is still applied AFTER custom rules are run. So the message may be moved to the trash bin as per a custom rule but then the spam filter moves it back to Spam. Certainly doesn’t sound ideal.

But I’m just guessing.

If you go to the “Accounts” Tab, you could adjust the “behavior” of every single account.
This includes the setting for the frequency for the automatic deletion of Mails inside the Spam-Folder.

Outlook has this exact same problem, and it’s made worse if you use Outlook’s “block sender” feature, which I’d like to automatically delete mail from a sender, but it it sends it to junk, which I still review for false positives. Somebody needs to get Apple and Microsoft together on this. :grinning:

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Apple and Outlook won’t see this as a problem. Their systems are working as designed.

If you want emails from a certain sender deleting automatically. Setup a rule to delete them, do not block the sender in Spam, then the rule will run.

Spam/Junk and Rules are an Either/Or selection, there’s no AND where both can act on the same message.

Think of Spam as a set of opaque filters which are effectively the first Rule, if there is a positive, the Spam Filter acts and stops the Rules being run. If the Spam filter comes back negative, the rules are run one by one, until the rule matches and instructs the check to stop checking rules, or all of the rules are checked.

Thank you all for the reply.

So WTF is the checkbox meant to mean!? :joy:

What Rule is it you are applying to the Mails in your Spam folder?

  • Move to the trash
  • Mark as read
  • Mark with a flag (so I easily can find mails that have been deleted with this rule, because error happens)

Unfortunately there is no “Mark as spam” action which could have helped a lot with the automatic spam detection.

Eg; I get like 200 emails with “willing horny girls” per week and I am really sure that is spam (or is it… :thinking:) just by looking at it, however the Mail app is not so sure.

Therefore I have a lot of rules that sort them out by subject and content (sender is not that important because they use hacked accounts). In the above case I have some phrases like “willing and horny”, “young girls”, “free porn” etc etc so they are properly deleted. Since I’m Swedish no horny girl would probably write to me in english anyways… :laughing:

By the way, who the eff actually open the URL’s from such a mail!?! :woozy_face:

Just an observation, but @Ulli asked what rules you are applying to your Spam folder. However, if you are running the rules before spam filtering, then the relevant messages are not yet in the spam folder when the rules are run. Wouldn’t you need to apply the rules to your Inbox if “Filter junk mail before applying my rules” is unchecked?

They send 1.000.000 of those Mails into the world, and 0,1% of the recipients are clicking onto it!
Makes a clear win for the Spamer…

But it might be possible, that you are overcomplicating this.
Normally the Spamrules are pretty good in finding stuff like this, so there are no dedicated rules necessary.
Also you could create a rule with the trigger “Message is Spam”.
Then you could let this rule doing the “mark as read”, “move to trash”, and “change color of background to grayed” with one automatic rule, and your Spamfolder remains more or less empty.

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That’s what I’ve been doing, although I keep adding addresses to a single rule instead of having an endless list of rules. I wish I could figure out a way to quickly add an address to my “straight to trash” rule,

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For some email systems (Apple’s iCloud email accounts), there is a “Mark as spam” action. All you need to do is move the message to the Junk folder (by hand or, presumably, by a rule). That action is supposed to train the filter.

Conversely, if you want to tell Apple’s iCloud email service that a message isn’t junk, you move it from the Junk folder to Inbox.

However, I’m not sure it works that way with email from other providers. That is, I don’t know that moving email into the Junk folder is used to train their spam filtering.

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It means what you think it means — unchecking it means that that Mail will apply rules to the newly-arrived mail in the INBOX before Mail applies its spam filter.

If messages are appearing in your Junk folder because your email server marked them as spam, then they have never been in your Mac’s inbox. (When Mail synced your Mac with the email server, those messages were already in Junk.) Thus, no rules will be applied. Unless you force rules to run on a mailbox, rules are only applied to incoming (Inbox) email.

I think the problem is that you’re trying to build your own spam-handling service that works differently than how everyone else has decided it should work. I understand!

Personally, I would prefer to never see the message count of my spam folder. I would love to turn off the count, but there’s no way to do that for just one folder. If they could automatically be marked “read”, that would be great. But rules don’t run on the spam folder automatically, so that won’t work. I could write an automation that does this periodically, but I don’t have the time or interest. Instead, I just check the folder daily, move non-junk back to the inbox, Select-All for the remaining, and Delete.

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Are you sure about that?
There is a special trigger within the rules that is “message is spam” (or something similar, I have the german version).
If this is really not running on the Spamfolder, it might be an idea to use the Spamrule “mark as spam, and leave in Inbox”, as the rules runs in that case on the inbox, and you can move, delete, mark as unread and so on on the Spam with this rule trigger.

Thanks again for all the input, very appreciated!

In the Advanced section of the Preferences > Junk panel there is a way to sort this out. At least you’d think. It doesn’t work…
I have adjusted it to look as per the attachment, but I have NO emails marked with the yellow (that says Purple) flag. So obviously my spam detection doesn’t work. All spam ends up in the Spam folder until I manually delete them (with COM+OPT+L or the delete button).