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3.14   iPhone Spam Filtering

Your Mac as the Spam Filter

Due to limitations of the iOS platform, there is not currently an iPhone version of SpamSieve. However, you can use SpamSieve on your Mac to keep the spam off your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The Mac has much more bandwidth and processing power, so it makes sense to do the spam filtering there, anyway. When you check for mail on your iPhone, you won’t waste time or battery power downloading or processing spam messages.

Use IMAP or Exchange to Synchronize Your Mailboxes

To use SpamSieve with your iPhone, you’ll need to set both the Mac and the iPhone to connect to your mail server using either the IMAP or Exchange mail protocol:

If your mail host supports IMAP but you are not using it, you can change the settings on your Mac to connect via IMAP instead of POP. Please see the Converting Your Apple Mail Setup to IMAP section or read Macworld’s article about this.

How IMAP/Exchange Synchronization Works

When using IMAP or Exchange, all computers and mobile devices that connect to the same mail account will share the same mailboxes. The contents of the mailboxes will be synchronized automatically. The syncing happens when you open the Mail application, not when you connect the Mac and iPhone and sync in iTunes.

Filtering Out the Spam

You don’t have to do anything extra for SpamSieve to filter the spam on your iPhone. SpamSieve is already removing the spam from your Mac’s inbox, so the normal IMAP/Exchange synchronization will automatically remove the spam messages from the iPhone’s inbox as well.

When your mail program is running on your Mac, it will periodically check for new mail. New messages will arrive in the inbox, and SpamSieve will move the spam messages to the spam mailbox. When the iPhone checks for new mail, the spam messages will generally already have been moved out of the inbox.

If the iPhone happens to see a new spam message before the Mac does:

Checking the Spam Mailbox

With the standard setup, SpamSieve puts the spam that it catches in the Spam mailbox on your Mac. The spam messages are removed from the server and stored locally on the Mac. This is faster, and it means that the spam messages won’t count towards your server quota. However, this also makes it impossible to view the spam messages when you are away from your Mac.

Some users prefer to store the Spam mailbox on the server. This way, if SpamSieve accidentally puts a good message in the Spam mailbox, you can access the message on the iPhone when away from the Mac. To do this, see the Using a Spam Mailbox on the Server section.

Training SpamSieve to Correct Mistakes

With the standard setup, you train SpamSieve directly from your Mac. If a spam message gets through to your inbox, you should not delete it from the iPhone because that would prevent you from correcting the mistake.

The Setting Up a Spam Filtering Drone section describes how to set up Apple Mail for remote training. If you’ll be away from your Mac for long periods of time, you can then train SpamSieve directly from the iPhone. Correcting mistakes promptly will keep SpamSieve running at peak accuracy.

Troubleshooting iPhone Spam Filtering

If there are spam messages in the inbox on your iPhone:

  1. Are those same messages in the inbox on your Mac? If so, this is not an iPhone-specific problem. You should follow the regular Why is SpamSieve not catching my spam? instructions.
  2. If the spam messages are in the iPhone’s inbox but in the Mac’s Spam mailbox, try using “pull-to-refresh” to get the iPhone to resynchronize with the server. It should then update its inbox and remove the spam messages from the inbox.
  3. If the spam messages are still in the iPhone’s inbox, try logging into your mail account via Web mail.
    • If everything looks good in Web mail, there is likely a problem with your iPhone’s connection to the mail server.
    • If the spam is in the Web mail inbox but not the Mac’s, there is likely a problem with the mail program on your Mac.
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