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7.13.7   Why are messages marked as spam in Apple Mail but not moved?

Sometimes SpamSieve may classify a message as spam, and change its color in Apple Mail, but the message does not move to the Spam mailbox; it remains in the inbox.

Here are some ways to fix this:

  1. Make sure that your SpamSieve rule in Apple Mail looks like the one shown in Step 4 of the Setting Up Apple Mail section of the manual. If Mail loses track of the Spam mailbox, there may be no mailbox specified in the rule’s actions, and so Mail will not move the spam messages.
  2. You can test that the rule works and that Mail is able to move the messages by manually applying the SpamSieve rule. Select one of the messages in the inbox that was marked as spam and choose Apply Rules from the Message menu. You can check in the Open Log section of the manual whether SpamSieve predicted the message to be spam. If it did, but the message did not move, Mail may be encountering an error when it tries to move the message. Please see Sending in an Error Report.
  3. Sometimes Mail rules will not move messages that were processed immediately after the Mac woke from sleep. You can work around this problem by quitting Mail before sleeping your Mac or by changing the Energy Saver settings so that your Mac does not to go to sleep automatically. You can also use the QuitMailWhenMacSleeps esoteric preference to make SpamSieve automatically quit Mail before the Mac sleeps and launch it when it wakes.
  4. Recent versions of Mail have problems communicating with certain mail servers. Mail is more reliable at moving messages from the inbox to another mailbox on the same server than it is at moving the messages to a local mailbox. The Using a Spam Mailbox on the Server section of the manual explains how you can store your spam on the IMAP or Exchange server, so that Mail is better able to move it out of the inbox.
  5. A bug in macOS 10.15, affecting a small number of customers, can prevent messages caught by the normal SpamSieve rule from moving to the spam mailbox, leaving them colored in the inbox. It may help to click this link to tell SpamSieve not to mark spam messages as junk on the server. You can also work around this by instead using an Apple Mail Script Rule.
  6. See whether the problem still occurs if you disable other Mail plug-ins, as described in the Can other Apple Mail plug-ins cause problems with SpamSieve? section.
  7. Mail’s database may be damaged. Please see the How can I rebuild Apple Mail’s database? section of the manual.
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