Use Mail’s advanced junk filter on your Mac

Customise the junk mail filter to keep your inbox clean with Apple's Mac Mail app


Junk email or spam is a serious problem, cluttering the inbox with dozens of messages from people we don’t know talking about things we have no interest in.

Spam wastes time and gets in the way. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with it and keep it out of sight. We show how to turn on the junk mail filter in Mail’s Preferences and how to use the advanced features to make it even better at detecting spam.

The junk filter consists of rules and you can modify them or add extra ones of your own. Rules can block senders, messages with certain words, people not in your contacts and so on. We’ll show how to customise the rules, but the ones you need will depend on the spam you get.

SS Mail step1

1 Mail junk settings
Go to the Mail menu, select Preferences and then the Junk Mail tab. Tick ‘Enable junk mail filtering’, and then select Perform Custom Actions. Now click the Advanced button.

SS Mail step2

2 Any or all
If genuine messages are being detected as junk, click the minus button on the right of a rule to remove it. Messages might not always come from your contacts, for example.

SS Mail step3

3 Change a rule
If rules are not working, click them to choose an alternative method of detecting junk. Select Message Content to detect spam by the words or phrases it contains.

SS Mail step4

4 Filter by content
After selecting Message Content for a rule, the next option is ‘contains’, but ‘does not contain’ is an option, too. In the box on the right, enter the word or phrase.

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