Phantom Flag in Apple Mail

Recently I changed my strategy for using flags in Apple Mail. I had some emails in my inbox flagged Gray. I selected all of the emails flagged Gray and removed all of the Gray flags. The badge now shows one email flagged as Gray. However, there are no emails flagged as Gray. There are no email flagged Gray in the inbox, sent, trash, junk, drafts, nor anywhere else. I have rebuilt Mail. Still to no avail. So even though this is just cosmetic, this will bother me. Any thoughts?

What do you see if you click the Gray flag under “Flagged” ?


Well that’s just weird.

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Is this 1 account or several? I’ve noticed some providers mark email in some way and mail interprets that as a flag. Protonmail is such a provider, luckily they are also shown as flagged in the account view.

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One Apple Mail account. I should also note that the phantom Gray flag only occurred on the mini, not my other devices. This morning I was able to get rid of the Phantom Gray flag. I disabled the account in mail preferences, then I enabled the account and rebuilt Apple Mail on my mini. However this removed all of the flags in the Archive folder and left 2 flags in the inbox. I have also noticed differing flag counts on Mac (2), iPhone (56) and iPad (65). I haven’t looked at Mail on iCloud. I don’t think these discrepancies are related to the phantom flag problem but are a different problem. I may try disabling/enabling on the iPhone and iPad, after I check on the flag status on iCloud Mail.

Anyone else notice differing flag numbers across their devices?

Yep, constantly. They change colors on different devices, fail to clear, or I get phantom flags like you have. They aren’t completely broken, but they do not play well with syncing.

Phantom flags eventually clear. Everything else I have to manually fix.

Thanks for confirming this weirdness. Lack of consistency bothers me.

That’s why in an attempt in simplify, I’ve decided to use red as my only flag.

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Right, like Gmail thinking somethings important and all that address is for is junk mail :roll_eyes:

In my experience, this is not a new phenomenon. Like several other parts of Apple Mail, the implementation of flags seems to be somewhat flakey: I have for years relied on flags for compiling the content of smart mailboxes, but it has never been 100% reliable - there will be occasional messages that stubbornly test as being flagged when they are not.

I have long ago given up on hoping that Apple will fix such bugs in their apps; it is very frustrating, bur realistically I find there is little choice but to live with them. :frowning: