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4.6.12   Consolidating Spam From Multiple Filters

As described in the How should I configure the junk filter on my mail server? section, we generally recommend turning off other spam/junk filters and only using SpamSieve. If you choose not to do this you may end up in a situation where server filters are putting spam messages in one or more Junk mailboxes, while SpamSieve puts messages in the Spam mailbox. This section describes different strategies for coping with multiple Junk/Spam mailboxes in Apple Mail. This is especially useful if you are using a mail host, such as iCloud, whose junk filter cannot be turned off. You should pick just one of the lettered strategies below.

A. Have Separate Mailboxes for Each Spam/Junk Filter

Some users like having separate Junk and Spam mailboxes. If this is what you want, just be sure to check both locations for false positives, so that no good messages get stuck there. Only good messages in the Spam mailbox need to be trained as good because good messages in the Junk mailbox are not SpamSieve mistakes.

B. Use a Smart Mailbox to Show All the Spam in One Place

You can create a smart mailbox to show the contents of all the mailboxes in one place. For example, it might look like this:

Contains messages that match any of the following conditions:

You will still have the separate (actual) mailboxes, but you will be able to review all of your spam at once (in the smart mailbox).

C. Tell SpamSieve to Use the Junk Mailbox

You may not be able to change where your server filters put spam messages, but you can change what SpamSieve does. You can tell it to put the spam in Mail’s special Junk mailbox, which the server junk filters are probably already using. The messages will still be stored under their respective accounts, but there will be less visual clutter.

  1. This setup requires macOS 10.9 or later. It will only work if Mail is showing the special Junk mailbox at the top section of the mailbox list. If the Junk mailbox is not visible, you can get Mail to show it (without enabling Mail’s built-in junk mail filter) by following the instructions in Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages.
  2. For each account, find the mailbox that the server junk filter is using and tell Mail to show it under the special Junk mailbox.
    • On macOS 10.12 and later, go to Preferences ‣ Accounts ‣ Mailbox Behaviors and select it from the Junk Mailbox pop-up menu.
    • On macOS 10.11 and earlier, select the mailbox and choose Mailbox ‣ Use This Mailbox As ‣ Junk Mailbox.
  3. Change the SpamSieve rule to move messages to the special Junk mailbox rather than the Spam mailbox.
  4. Choose SpamSieve - Change Settings from Mail’s Message menu and, when prompted, enter Junk as the name of the mailbox for trained spam messages.
  5. Delete any Spam/Junk mailboxes that are no longer in use.

With this setup, the only way to tell whether SpamSieve or a server filter was what classified a message as spam is to look in SpamSieve’s log.

D. Manually Re-filter the Junk Mailbox to Rescue Good Messages

The above methods put all your spam in one place, but they have the disadvantage that the server filter may mistakenly put good messages in the Junk mailbox. To consolidate your spam and have SpamSieve save you from this type of server mistake:

  1. Periodically, select all the messages in the Junk mailbox.
  2. Go to Mail’s Message menu, and choose Apply Rules. SpamSieve will move the messages that it thinks are spam to the Spam mailbox.
  3. Any messages left in the Junk mailbox are probably good. You can then move them to your inbox. (If there are any spam messages left, you should train them as spam.)

E. Automatically Re-filter the Junk Mailbox to Rescue Good Messages

You can use the Apple Mail - Server Junk Mailbox script to automate this sort of re-filtering. Whenever the script runs, it will tell SpamSieve to examine the messages in the Junk mailbox, moving the spam messages to the Spam mailbox and the good messages to the inbox. You can optionally set it to mark the spam messages as read.

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