How to customize the Junk Mail filter in the Mail app for Mac

Junk mail comes in many forms, and while some messages are obvious spam, others might not be. If you want to have more control over what the Mail app considers as junk mail on your Mac, here’s how to customize the filter settings.

Junk Mail Settings on Mac

Enable junk mail filtering

1) Open the Mail app and click Mail > Settings or Preferences from the top menu bar.

2) Choose Junk Mail in the pop-up window.

On this screen, you have some very basic options for handling your junk mail. Start by making sure the Enable junk mail filtering box is checked.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Mac

Then, decide what to do with messages considered to be junk mail. You can have the emails marked as junk but leave them in your inbox or have them moved to the Junk mailbox in your Mail app.

The third option is to perform custom actions, and this is where you can decide exactly what you consider to be junk mail. If you choose this option, the Advanced button at the bottom will become clickable. Hit the button and start configuring your mail with the settings below.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Advanced Mac

Advanced spam settings

Description: By default, the description has the word Junk, but you can change that if you like.

If: The drop-down box next to If lets you pick from Any or All. You’ll want to make this choice first before you start adjusting the conditions. Any means that any one of the conditions you configure will apply, whereas All means that every one of the conditions must be met.

Conditions: This is where you will choose the conditions that apply after you pick Any or All. When you click the first drop-down box, you will see many options. So, think about the types of emails you receive that you consider to be junk mail and adjust the conditions accordingly.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Advanced Settings Mac

For instance, if you want the Mail app to check for messages that come from people not in your contacts list, choose that condition. Or, if you want it to look at messages not addressed to your full name, pick that one. You can add and remove conditions by using the plus and minus signs to the right of them.

Let’s say that you want emails that come from anyone and have the word Sale in them to be considered junk. You would do the following:

1) Click one of the plus signs to add a condition.

2) Click the first drop-down box and select Any Recipient.

3) Click the middle drop-down box and select Contains.

4) Click inside the text box on the right and type the word Sale.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Conditions Mac

Now this condition you created will apply to messages you receive, and the actions you decide next will take place.

Perform the following actions: Here, you choose what to do with these junk mail messages. You can pick from options like moving the message, redirecting it, or deleting it. Depending on the item you choose, the next box will change.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Actions Mac

For example, if you choose to move the message, you’ll pick where to move it to in the next box. Or, if you decide to redirect the email, you’ll need to type in where to direct it to in the next box.

Like with the conditions, you can add and remove actions with the plus and minus signs.

When you finish with all of your adjustments on this screen, click OK to save the configurations and return to the main Junk Mail screen.

Exempt messages

Now that you are back on the main Junk Mail screen, you can head to the exemptions area. You have three options you can check or uncheck. When any of these are marked, the messages they apply to will be exempt from junk mail filtering.

Junk Mail Enable Filtering Exemptions Mac

So, if you want to keep it simple and remove messages from contacts, previous recipients, or those that use your full name from the filtering, just mark the checkboxes.

Last, you can mark boxes for trusting junk mail headers and filtering junk mail before applying the rules you configure.

If, at any point, you want to go back to the default junk mail filtering configuration, click Reset.

That’s all!

While the Mail app does a good job at filtering emails it considers to be junk, you can adjust the settings to include more or less filtering rules. And, as you can see, it’s easy to do.

Do you configure your own junk mail filters, or do you leave it up to the app?

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