to commonly asked questions.


Why am I still getting junk?

Still a good deal of junk seems to accumulate, but you think once I upgrade to the newer iOS system this will go away too?


Adjusting settings will not reduce the amount of junk you receive. It will just make sure it stays in the junk folder until the time you’ve set to delete it. Everyone gets tons of junk once their email address has been exposed. If the amount of junk you get concerns you, you can always set it to erase when quitting mail or once a day. Right now you have it set to one week I believe. Junk mail is harmless as long as it’s moving into the junk folder and out of the way. If it doesn’t get filtered and lands in the inbox, that’s when you have to use the junk button at the top your email application on the Mac to tell the computer, this is in fact junk and don’t let that sender land in my inbox again.

You can do this on your phone as well but takes a few extra steps. Swiping an email to the left should reveal the “more” then “move to junk” command. I find it easier to just use a computer.

The junk is killing me.

Are there better junk mail filters out there!? I’m deleting around 2,000 a day.

You shouldn't have to be tasked with deleting junk mail yourself. Let's look at how junk mail filtering works.

First, junk mail (spam) is filtered at a couple different levels. It's usually first filtered at the email provider level. Gmail will remove garbage email before it ever gets to you. That happens at their server first. The second layer of filtering happens on the Mac within Apple's mail program. Note that if your computer is closed or off, that level of junk mail filtering will not apply until it is awake again. This means that you may still see junk on your iPad or iPhone in the mean time. So it's a good idea to leave mail open on your computer while you are away.

Next, let's look at the options available in Apple's Mail app. There are three variations of junk filtering.
1. Mark it brown but leave it in the inbox.
2. Move it to the junk folder without asking.
3. Setting up custom rules.

Screen Shot 2021-11-12 at 6.04.16 AM

For 95% of us, the second option is really the best. Just move it automatically. Then you can set the junk folder to empty periodically automatically. To do this, you'll use the mailbox behaviors setting.

Screen Shot 2021-11-15 at 9.15.37 AM

This will give you a period of time to go through your junk mail folder to rescue any false positives before it is permanently deleted. Using this method, you are responsible for marking what email is junk or not junk. Use the junk button to determine the fate of future emails from the SAME sender. There's the catch. Junk mailers often use a different email address each time they send in order to circumvent junk mail filters. Example:

If you still feel there's too much getting through then you can use the third option of customizing junk filtering. Time to be careful however. These are very powerful tools that can end up going further than you'd like. First, you'll need to understand the "all" versus "any" command in the top left of the pic below. "All" means that every single rule you have added must be true at the same time in order for them to apply. This usually results in very few emails moved to junk. "Any" along with less rules is a better plan in my opinion.

By setting "any" then reducing the number of rules, you're more likely to catch exactly what you're after. This takes trial and error so you'll have to have patience to work out exactly what you're looking for. You can think of this window as an algebraic equation. If this, then that. If the following is true, then take the following action. It's best to stick with one action. That action is usually to simply move the message to the junk folder. That's the safest bet.

Next, subscribing and unsubscribing. By law, all bulk email from American companies must provide an unsubscribe option. However, the loophole that exists in that law is that while you can choose to unsubscribe from the monthly newsletter lets say, you may inadvertently be signing up for the weekly newsletter. Another note to keep in mind is that just because there's an unsubscribe option, the company may not be within the US and just be looking to gather more info. The amount of data companies can collect in today's internet is extraordinary. They can tell how long you looked at an email, whether you clicked on the link, hovered over the link, how long you hovered over a particular link, what site you were on before you visited theirs, where you went next after visiting their site, etc….Unsubbing is still a good option if you feel like the company is legitimate. However, keep in mind political email works very differently. Once a person signs up or interacts with a political organization, they will generally start getting a million more emails from various political organizations of the same beliefs. They work together to maximize donations etc…so those are usually harder to disassociate oneself from.

If Apple's built in junk filtering doesn't seem to do what you want, there are still other options. Spam Sieve is a popular third party filtering system you may find luck with. Around $30, it runs locally on your computer which means you'll need to keep your email client open in order for its effects to push over to iOS devices.

Hope this helps.

be careful when unsubscribing.

One of the most frequently asked questions is "how do I get rid of all this junk mail?" Part of that answer lies in how you deal with unsubscribing. In the example below, you can see that by unsubscribing to one list, I'm agreeing to switch to a different list. In this example it's pretty obvious but most of the time, you won't see it this evidently.

Always check the fine print when unsubscribing and keep in mind, non-American countries have no reason to follow American laws regarding spam. So in some cases, it's best just to mark it as junk mail instead of unsubscribing. By unsubscribing, you're actually sending the signal that you've interacted with their mail and that makes you even more valuable to them.
This image is a theme.plist hack