Apple Mail - SaneBox

Summary: Automatically applies SpamSieve to unread messages in the @SaneLater and other mailboxes.
Requires: SpamSieve, Apple Mail, SaneBox
Install Location: ~/Library/Application Scripts/ or ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/Mail/
Last Modified: 2021-07-15


The SaneBox service filters incoming messages into different mailboxes. This presents a problem because Apple Mail only knows how to apply its rules (such as SpamSieve) to new messages that arrive in the inbox. This script lets SpamSieve filter messages that arrive in other mailboxes such as @SaneLater.

Before using this script, make sure that the regular SpamSieve setup is accurately filtering the spam messages from your inbox. Mark as read any older messages in @Sane mailboxes that you do not want to be checked for spam.

Download this script and enter your account and mailbox names where it says return {{"Account 1", {"@SaneLater"}}}. You can get the AppleScript names using the Apple Mail - List Mailboxes script. For subfolders, use a slash, e.g. "Mailbox/Submailbox".

Go to Mail’s Preferences window and create a new rule at the top of the list (above the SpamSieve rule) called SaneBox SpamSieve. The conditions should say:

Every Message

The actions should say:

Run AppleScript […]Apple Mail - SaneBox.scpt

After choosing Run AppleScript from the pop-up menu, select the Apple Mail - SaneBox.scpt file (using either the pop-up menu or the Choose… button).

Now, whenever you receive a new message in the inbox, SpamSieve will look in all the mailboxes that you specified and check all the unread messages. Any that are spam will be moved to the Junk mailbox.

Normally, the script will run when Mail receives a new message in the inbox and applies the “SaneBox SpamSieve” rule. You can also set up the script as a standalone application. This has less overhead than running the script from within Mail, and it allows the script to run once every few minutes rather than for every message received. To do this, use Script Editor to save the script as an application (with the Stay Open option checked) and then launch the application. You can set in the “idle” handler how often it should run.

To troubleshoot this script, you can run it in Script Editor (a.k.a. AppleScript Editor) and look for any error messages in the Console application. You can also enable debug logging by changing pEnableDebugLogging from false to true.

Note: On macOS 10.8 or later, the script must be saved in the folder /Users/<username>/Library/Application Scripts/ This is because Mail is sandboxed and only has access to run scripts in that folder. To access the Library folder, click on the Go menu in the Finder while holding down the Option key.

Installation Instructions · Download in Compiled Format · Download in Text Format


property pMarkSpamMessagesRead : false
property pChangeJunkStatus : true
property pColorSpamMessages : true
property pFlagSpamMessages : false
property pSpamMailboxName : "Spam"
property pMoveBlueMessagesToTrash : false
property pMoveGrayMessagesToTrash : false
property pMovePurpleMessagesToTrash : false
property pMoveRedMessagesToTrash : false
property pMoveOrangeMessagesToTrash : false
property pMoveYellowMessagesToTrash : false
property pEnableDebugLogging : false
global useJunkMailbox

on accountAndMailboxNames()
-- Enter your account name, followed by a list of mailboxes for that account that should be filtered.
-- The account name comes from the "Description" field in the Accounts tab of Mail's preferences.
-- For example, this would filter the @SaneLater mailbox of Account 1:
-- return {{"Account 1", {"@SaneLater"}}}
-- And this would filter the @SaneLater and Other mailboxes of the Personal account
-- and the @SaneLater mailbox of the Work account:
-- return {{"Personal", {"@SaneLater", "Other"}}, {"Work", {"@SaneLater"}}}
return {{"Account 1", {"@SaneLater"}}}
end accountAndMailboxNames

on run
-- This is executed when you run the script directly.
my filterSaneMailboxes()
end run

on idle
-- This is executed periodically when the script is run as a stay-open application.
my filterSaneMailboxes()
return 60 * 5 -- Run again in 5 minutes.
end idle

using terms from application "Mail"
on perform mail action with messages _messages
-- This is executed when Mail runs the rule.
my filterSaneMailboxes()
end perform mail action with messages
end using terms from

on filterSaneMailboxes()
if application "Mail" is not running then return
tell application "SpamSieve"
set useJunkMailbox to lookup single key "AppleMailUseJunkMailbox" without default value
end tell
tell application "Mail"
repeat with _pair in my accountAndMailboxNames()
set {_accountName, _mailboxNames} to _pair
set _account to account _accountName
repeat with _mailboxName in _mailboxNames
my filterAccountMailboxNamed(_account, _mailboxName)
on error _error
my logToConsole("Error checking mailbox “" & _mailboxName & "” from account “" & _accountName & "”: " & _error)
end try
end repeat
on error _error
my logToConsole("Error checking account “" & _accountName & "”: " & _error)
end try
end repeat
end tell
end filterSaneMailboxes

on filterAccountMailboxNamed(_account, _mailboxName)
tell application "Mail"
set _mailbox to _account's mailbox _mailboxName
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Start checking mailbox", _mailbox, ""))
set _total to count of messages of _mailbox
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Total messages in mailbox", _mailbox, _total))
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Getting unread, non-deleted messages in mailbox", _mailbox, ""))
with timeout of 3 * 60 seconds
set _messages to messages of _mailbox whose read status is false and deleted status is false
end timeout
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Messages to process in mailbox", _mailbox, count of _messages))
set _spamMailbox to my spamMailboxForAccount(_account)
repeat with _message in _messages
my processMessageIfSpam(_message, _spamMailbox)
end repeat
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Finished checking mailbox", _mailbox, ""))
end tell
end filterAccountMailboxNamed

on processMessageIfSpam(_message, _spamMailbox)
set _source to my sourceFromMessage(_message)
tell application "SpamSieve"
set _score to score message _source
end tell
on error _error number _errorNumber
my logToConsole("Error " & _errorNumber & " (" & _error & ") scoring message source: " & _source)
return false
end try
tell application "Mail"
my debugLog("Spam score of message is " & _score & ": " & _message's subject)
set _isSpam to _score ≥ 50
if pChangeJunkStatus then
set _message's junk mail status to _isSpam
end if
if _isSpam and pMarkSpamMessagesRead then
set _message's read status to true
end if
set _moveToTrash to my colorMessageAndDecideIfShouldMoveToTrash(_message, _score)
if _moveToTrash then
delete _message
else if _isSpam then
my moveMessage(_message, _spamMailbox)
end if
return _isSpam
end tell
end processMessageIfSpam

on colorMessageAndDecideIfShouldMoveToTrash(_message, _score)
tell application "Mail"
set _table to
blue, pMoveBlueMessagesToTrash, 6}, ¬
gray, pMoveGrayMessagesToTrash, 5}, ¬
purple, pMovePurpleMessagesToTrash, 4}, ¬
red, pMoveRedMessagesToTrash, 3}, ¬
orange, pMoveOrangeMessagesToTrash, 2}, ¬
yellow, pMoveYellowMessagesToTrash, 1}, ¬
none, false, -1}}
-- Flag colors chosen so that messages sort by spamminess: gray, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, none
repeat with _row in _table
set {_threshold, _color, _moveToTrash, _flagColor} to _row
if _score_threshold then
if pColorSpamMessages then
set _message's background color to _color
end if
if pFlagSpamMessages then
set _message's flag index to _flagColor
end if
return _moveToTrash
end if
end repeat
end tell
end colorMessageAndDecideIfShouldMoveToTrash

on spamMailboxForAccount(_account)
tell application "Mail"
return mailbox pSpamMailboxName of _account
on error
return mailbox pSpamMailboxName
end try
end tell
end spamMailboxForAccount

-- Logging

on debugLog(_message)
if pEnableDebugLogging then my logToConsole(_message)
end debugLog

on logToConsole(_message)
set _logMessage to "SpamSieve [Apple Mail SaneBox] " & _message
do shell script "/usr/bin/logger -s " & _logMessage's quoted form
end logToConsole

on makeLogMessage(_action, _mailbox, _detail)
return _action & " " & my describeMailbox(_mailbox) & ": " & _detail
end makeLogMessage

on describeMailbox(_mailbox)
tell application "Mail"
set _mailboxName to _mailbox's name
set _accountName to name of _mailbox's account
on error
set _accountName to "On My Mac"
end try
return "“" & _accountName & "” / “" & _mailboxName & "”"
end tell
end describeMailbox

-- Logging Helpers

on sourceFromMessage(_message)
tell application "Mail"
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Getting source of message in", _message's mailbox, _message's subject))
return _message's source
end tell
end sourceFromMessage

on moveMessage(_message, _mailbox)
tell application "Mail"
if useJunkMailbox then
my debugLog("Moving message to Junk: " & _message's subject)
move _message to junk mailbox
my debugLog(my makeLogMessage("Moving message to", _mailbox, _message's subject))
set _message's mailbox to _mailbox
end if
end tell
end moveMessage