Junk Mail

Starting last fall, the volume of junk mail I receive increased in volume significantly. Apple Mail catches almost all of this junk and puts it into the junk mail folder. Then, I just delete the junk mail. I was getting tired of that so I set up a “Delete Spam” Rule which I assumed would automatically delete junk mail when it arrived. It doesn’t seem to do anything.

The rule is If Message is junk mail then delete message. Pretty simple.

I did some searches on the Apple help forums and this seems to be a common complaint with no solution provided. Given that Apple can detect these types of email (all pretty obvious), I’m not sure why Apple doesn’t block them on the front-end - but they don’t. (I buy wine from a wine store in Southern California and their email was blocked for quite a while - all their customers using Apple Mail had the mail blocked - so I know Apple can do this. If the junk classification wasn’t accurate, I wouldn’t want the automatic delete - but it hardly ever misses (though it occasionally puts LinkedIn messages in the junk folder).


No suggestions, just a “me too” of the issue and timing of the issue. I used to get maybe two or three spam emails a day and now I’m getting literally 200 to 300, in batches of 50 to 70 at a time.

I’ve also tried to set up automatic junk deletion but iCloud.com settings don’t offer any rules that would be helpful and they won’t let you actually create rules from scratch. Rules I’ve set up in Apple Mail simply don’t work at all, as you stated. They’re seemingly just ignored, so I deleted them.

The best I’ve been able to do is have the Junk folder deleted “when quitting Mail”, which often delays quitting by up to half a minute while it tries to coordinate with iCloud to delete all the spam.

I agree with you as well, that Apple needs to supply a setting on iCloud.com to just delete all items they’ve placed in the Junk folder. It should be the user’s choice to take the risk of having some false-positive email deleted that has erroneously been placed in that folder. At this point, I’m more than happy to sacrifice any of those possible false-positive emails just to stop downloading all that spam. At my home it only takes seconds to download all that spam, but at my family’s ranch that only has 0.75 mbps DSL it takes forever.

Unfortunately Apple Mail’s junk management has always been inflexible and anemic…

But there’s a tried and true remedy for that:


Thanks, but I do use SpamSieve, and have for years. It does an excellent job and I highly recommend it as well. But it also just leaves the spam in the Junk folder and doesn’t delete it. And, of course, it can only deal with the junk mail that has already been downloaded, which doesn’t help me with the long download times on the glacially slow internet at my family’s rural ranch.

What I desire is some way to delete the junk emails in my Junk folder the moment they appear on the iCloud server. So I don’t ever see them or know they ever existed. And since Apple’s iCloud is already tagging them as junk and placing them in the Junk folder on the server, why not let me choose a setting to delete them immediately? That’s the rub.

But of course, Apple’s not going to listen to what I desire. They have a huge staff of highly paid employees to tell them what we want and what features and settings to provide. So this rant is over.

Well, at least I am not alone in my misery. I did look at Spam Sieve but it just puts the mail in the junk folder and Mail is already doing that correctly. It’s just a “First World” problem and doesn’t take much effort to delete the Junk. (I have a Gigabit connection.). These are so obviously garbage that their is little risk in deleting them on the front end - I’m not interested in Russian women who want to meet me and I didn’t order anything on PayPal for $950. It’s also odd that many of these messages have multiple emojis pasted into the header. And when mail puts the LInkedIn messages into the Spam folder they are sort of spamy.


I’m pretty sure that you can configure spamsieve to move junk mail right into trash. Can’t you? (I don’t want to mess with my setup to check.)

And if you’re using Apple Mail then you can change the trash mailbox behavior to erase deleted messages after one day.

Well, you can do that with the junk folder as well.

AFAIK, rules are only applied to messages in your Inbox. I don’t really understand why using preferences to empty the Junk mailbox daily isn’t more than enough. I often find legit mail in my Junk mailbox at least once a week, so my personal habit is to check and move legit messages to my inbox, then selecting all others and hit delete every night.

Thanks Al. I had mail set to move junk mail to the junk mail folder. I changed that to leave the junk mail in the inbox (but flagged) - maybe the rule will work now. (I didn’t know that the rules only worked for the inbox.). If that doesn’t work, I have also set Mail to empty the junk mail folder when I exit Mail - I don’t leave Mail running all day, so that should also work and save a (small) step.


Well, that didn’t work. The junk mail is still going into the junk mail folder (even though I configured settings to keep them in the inbox). They do delete when I exit Mail, so I will just go with that. It is amazing how many features I find in Apple software that just don’t work - and don’t get fixed across OS updates. Oh well…


The Mail.app Junk filter is not to blame. These messages are filtered on the iCloud server side, before Mail ever sees them.

Mail Rules are applied automatically only to new, unread messages arriving in the Inbox. Since the messages are already moved to Junk before Mail sees them, Rules are not applied automatically. (You can still apply Rules manually, Message > Apply Rules. I use that to remove false positives from Junk, that otherwise would have been automatically filtered by my Rules.)

Yeah, we hashed over a similar issue here a couple months ago. You may want to check out that thread to see if there are any ideas you haven’t already tried.

There is a tip from Apple Support here:

In particular “To set up other actions, select “Perform custom actions,” then click Advanced…”

I haven’t tried this but maybe there is the option to automatically delete junk?

However, as others have pointed out, this doesn’t affect the iCloud server that is identifying junk emails and moving them to the junk folder, only to be downloaded when using Mail on a Mac.

We need the “custom actions” available at iCloudDOTcom - or even just the option to keep them on the server and not send them to Mac Mail (my ancient ISP had this option decades ago!).

Well I did. I bought a $4000 appliance and put it on PayPal credit. I figure with today’s higher interest rates, no interest for 6 months is a pretty good deal.

Honestly, are these ‘don’t work’ or we just don’t know how to configure them?

As I get junk e-mails, I have been making rules to delete anything from that domain. So I think I am up over 300 now. But I have been getting a number from gmail users that I have been reporting to Google, I would like to report a Gmail user who has sent messages that violate the Gmail Program Policies and/or Terms of Use. - Gmail Help a number of those lately have links to a certain domain, if an e-mail has links to that domain I’d like to delete those automatically but haven’t figured out how.

The only thing I use PayPal for is subscriptions and small software purchases - so I know these messages are fraud. The other trick these spammers use is to put the name of a legit business in the header - those are also obviously fraud. Again, Apple should filter these at the front-end, but don’t. Seems like they would want to do that to reduce the volume of messages they have to transmit - it would probably cut volume in half!


I found I also need to go to PayPal and delete the order on PayPal. It doesn’t go through - hasn’t been authorized but it in the account and PayPal recommends deleting.

While changing the Mail settings as you suggested by reading the referenced Apple Support article I did find where deleting Junk mail immediately upon download is supposed to be possible. (While this wouldn’t stop long download times on slow internet connections, it would at least save some deletion steps.)

But alas, those Advanced settings simply don’t work. I set it up to delete everything in the Junk folder immediately upon download so I’d never see them. But I continued to get all the same junk email as I did before I changed the settings. No difference. So another disappointment.

Thanks for brining this up.
My junk mail box has exploded as well with the new year?
I have tried everything I could think of to get Apple Mail to just delete the junk mail in my junk mail box, but there is NOTHING that works.
As I read down this thread I see everyone trying what I tried, custom rules etc…

So, finally I decided to do this:

Key command: Option->>>Command->>>>J (letter “J”)

Deletes everything in the junk mail folder. Now when the icon says I have junk in there, three keys and I move on.

Rich the Weather Guy