Vanishing scam email

There was a spam message in my inbox this morning, I clicked on it to move it to my spam folder, and it vanished in the time it took me to see a link regarding a 9K+ loan I’ve never applied for anywhere (the link was the only content). I checked the spam and trash folders, then the sent and draft folders – the message was nowhere to be seen.

I’ve never come across this kind of vanishing act in my kazillion years of using email, but searching the topic, it seems quite common for email to disappear for all kinds of reasons. For what it’s worth, I found one post describing the same thing that happened to me, but on an iPhone using a different mail app. < Spam email (gmail) disappeared as I click… - Apple Community > … and I couldn’t tell how relevant it is to my setup – Apple Mail / Gmail on a 2016 iMac running El Capitan…

What do people think, do I need to worry about it?

I assume you’re using IMAP to access your GMail account.

I would guess that someone/something deleted the message from the server some time after Mail downloaded the message header and when you went to read the mail. Then when Mail sync’ed to IMAP, the message went away.

If you can’t find it on your Mac, I would suggest going to the GMail web page and look there. It might have been moved to a label/folder that your Mac doesn’t sync. Once you find it, hopefully it should become clear what moved the message to that folder.

Yes, using IMAP

Hmm, I did find it in the spam folder on the Gmail web site. I was under the impression that the “junk mail” in Apple Mail gets mirrored in Gmail’s spam folder but I guess not entirely. I compared them side by side and only some of the emails are in both folders.

Thanks a lot!

They should be kept in sync, but it may not automatically do it in the background.

I don’t use Mail on my Mac, but on iOS, folders other than Inbox don’t update until you view them. When you view the folder, it syncs that folder. The status line at the bottom of the folder (“Updated 2 hours ago”, “Checking for Mail…”, etc.) will let you know when this last happened. A swipe-down gesture can be used to force a re-sync.

If Mail on macOS works similarly, see if there is a button or menu item you can click to force a refresh on the Junk folder.

Junk on macOS Mail will update as soon as you hit “Get Mail” (shift-cmd-n), assuming of course the account was enabled in Prefs > Accounts.

The difference between iOS and macOS Mail is that the Get Mail command in macOS Mail is global, whereas in iOS the swipe down to update applies only to the currently selected folder. The global get all new mail in iOS does sort of exist though if you pull down to get new mail in the All Inboxes section. That will just update inboxes though, not other folders (such as Junk) so it’s still not the exact same behavior as in macOS Mail.

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For what it’s worth and in case it helps, sometimes when a message has seemed to disappear from an account Inbox in Mail, I have found it in “All inboxes” even though it doesn’t appear in any individual mailbox.

I have also sometimes found a message by searching for it although it doesn’t appear in the mailbox indicated in the upper right corner of the message window.

Wow! I think you solved one of my old mysteries. I’d often see an email notification go across my screen but the email was nowhere to be found. I always blamed my host and they always denied it. It was never in a server-side location that I could see. But it makes perfect sense now.