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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. (See also the Filtering Spam During Power Nap section.) 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 Junk Mailbox

With the standard setup, SpamSieve puts the spam that it catches into the special Junk, which syncs between all your devices. Thus, you will always have access to the suspected spam messages, in case a good message is accidentally moved there.

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. Likewise, a good message in the Junk mailbox should be trained when you get back to your Mac.

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. If the Mac hasn’t yet downloaded the spam messages at all, you may need to adjust the Check for new messages preference in Mail. Make sure that the IDLE command is enabled in Mail’s preferences for your account. With some servers, it may help to check for new messages every minute rather than Automatically.
  2. If the spam messages are in the inbox on your Mac, this is not an iPhone-specific problem. You should follow the regular Why is SpamSieve not catching my spam? instructions.
  3. If the spam messages are in the iPhone’s inbox but in the Mac’s Junk 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.
  4. 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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