Managing Junk Email in Mac OS X

May 18, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Junk mail is a fact of life. Like unsolicited cold calls at the door or on a telephone, they’re ways for people to make money, or in some cases take advantage of your good nature. In severe cases, junk mail through your letter box or in your email account can be a way to gain personal information from you which might be misused as a means to steal your identity.

In order to block junk email from coming through the door, you might have a sign made asking the postman to move on to the next property. You might take advantage of the pre-paid envelope and stuff everything back inside it and return to sender, or you might just bin it.

Things are a little different on a computer. Junk emails – also known as spam – can be frustrating, and without the right tools it can be difficult to manage.

Luckily the Mail app in Mac OS X is simple to use, allowing you to easily mark messages from certain recipients (sales letters, mass-mailed nonsense or even emails from people you want to avoid) as junk and have them diverted to a folder where you will never see them again.

Managing junk email in Mac OS X

Selecting Messages as Junk in Mac Mail

Any emails that drop into your inbox can easily be marked as junk, never to be seen again, if you take advantage of the Junk button in Mac Mail.

Simply select the email concerned in the inbox list and then click Junk. The message will be opened at the bottom of the screen and if you have made an error there will be the opportunity to use the Not Junk button to reverse the command.

You can view messages in the Junk Mail folder by pressing COMMAND+6 or by going to Mailbox > Go To > Junk.

Junk is in fact already configured when you boot Mail for the first time, and you can check how this is setup in Mail > Preferences > Junk Mail. Here you will see that junk mail filtering is enabled by default, and that such messages can either be left in the Inbox or moved to the Junk mailbox; you might decide that you prefer to keep spam out of sight!

Messages from people in your address book or people you have previously emailed will by default be exempt from filtering, as will those that address you using your full name (the one used when you first launched Mail).

Are The Wrong Emails Ending Up In Junk?

The junk email filter relies on pre-determined settings to detect and capture any spam that you might receive. In most cases this should work without any problems, although it can prove over-enthusiastic at times.

If you are unable to find can email messages that you are certain have been sent to you, open Mail > Preferences > Junk Mail. If you have configured and custom actions, these can be checked by using the Advanced… button. It is quite possible that you have created a filtering rule that prevents messages from trusted sources getting through, so take a look at what has been filtered out and the settings you configured in the rule to prevent this from happening in future.

Don’t forget, of course, that your ISP might also be filtering messages, so it might be worth checking with them if the emails concerned don’t show up.

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