Working with Apple Mail Smart Folders

[edit ] Apple Mail Slow Down Issues

Recently, my Apple Mail had been getting slower and slower. What this means is when I open my mail I had a bunch of new mail that would come in and it got frustrating because I would click on a new piece of mail and the body centent might not show for as much as 30 seconds.

Trying to resolve the issue I tried a few things however I finally realized what it was: it turns out I had a bunch of smart folders where some of them had many hundreds even thousands of items.

Solution: So I tried various techniques to update the smart folders show that they only had a limited amount of items in each.

Once I did that, then Apple Mail became quite responsive after that.

I am trying to improve my Smart Folders with Apple Mail

For example if I make multiple criteria like:

Any recipient contains X
Any recipient contains XX
Any recipient contains XXX
Subject contains X
Sender is a member of group XXX

Then I have to choose contains messages that match = ANY of the following.

And this can result in many hundreds (or larger) of found emails

If I was to choose: that contains messages that match = ALL

then obviously this would not work and often would find few or zero

Q: I don’t know how to add this in:

Use the above criteria and add message sent within the last seven days… That kind of thing?

Also - when creating smart searches in macOS finder - you can do this cool trick: hold down option key when you click the plus button and you could do sub searches with multiple criteria.

This would be great for Apple Mail Smart folders but I don’t know how to do it.

Q: Has anyone figured out a way to be able to use multiple complex criteria and get the kind of results you might want?

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The only way that I’ve found is to use SmartFolders that reference each other. It would be wonderful if you could have nesting of rules to allow for this type of processing (either in rules or SmartFolders).

For example I have a SmartFolder that has “ANY” matches to receipients, subject etc. This basically filters out messages that many call BACN (ie these messages are better than SPAM).

Then a second SmartFolder that implements the specific sub match you need, in my case a time period just like you. Note the match to the other SmartFolders, and that I’m also checking the message is not in my Archive folder already (hence it’s been actioned).

This is a work around no question, and I’m honestly surprised that other clients don’t have this type of capability. The only solution that I’ve found (and I’m thinking of moving over) is Microsoft with the sweep rules in / M365 that allow you to setup processing in your inbox post message arrival automatically (only in the web gui).

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Hi Steve - this is a very workable solution - THANKS for the the help!

No problem, someone in this great forum helped me to find this, so glad to pay it forward.

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Talking earlier with a friend, we came up with an interesting option:

Create a new smart folder call something like Last7Days or Last30Days etc.

Consider that the primary folder.

  • then make other smart folders that search for varied criteria and reference this smart folder: message is in mailbox = Last7Days

  • seems like you could have a lot of varied Smart - choices