C-Command Software Forum

Best set up for using SpamSieve with Multiple Macs syncing via iCloud

I am currently using SpamSieve on trial mode. I am trying to decide on the best set up for my situation. I installed it on my laptop which is my main computer. I use Apple Mail client, and have several email accounts. I use Mail on the laptop, a desktop, iPhone, and iPad. All are synced via iCloud. They are IMAP accounts (there is one old POP account on the desktop which is just getting junk now, but I don’t sync it to the other devices, and it has no option for IMAP.) My laptop is running most of the time, but about twice a year there are periods of about 10 days each when I don’t have it with me. Then I use my phone/iPad for Mail. So regarding your section 3.14 “SpamSieve and Multiple Macs”, is it better to go with option 1 of running SpamSieve on one Mac and letting it clean for all Macs, or to go with option 2 of the drone setup.

Also, I am leaning towards having my Spam mailbox on the server rather than locally. I know that takes up space on the server, but since I will delete the spam periodically anyway, does this really matter?

Thank you.

When you don’t have the laptop with you, would it still be running to filter the messages?

When you do have the laptop with you, would you want to train SpamSieve from your iPhone or iPad, or would you just do it from the Mac?

If you’re keeping the Spam mailbox relatively small, then the space doesn’t matter. The main other consequence is that it lets you see the spam on all your devices. Some people like that; others don’t (e.g because of the bandwidth used to download the messages).

Normally no, but I suppose it could, if you mean would it be powered on but sleeping.

All else being equal, I would like to train from the iPhone/iPad, but if this made it more complicated, I could do it from the laptop once a day, if I could still check my email from phone/iPad more often.

By the way, perhaps I should mention that I am not currently getting a lot of true spam, but I get a lot of junk mail, including things that ignore requests to unsubscribe. It is chiefly this sort of mail that I wish to rid myself of, or at least I want to contain it. Will SpamSieve help with this sort of mail? I do of course get some Spam and want to reduce the chances of accidentally opening some malware ridden email or attachment.

OK, if it’s not on, anyway, then the fact that it isn’t with you doesn’t affect which setup you should choose.

It sounds like you want the drone setup. There’s no particular reason not to use that except that it’s slightly more complicated to set up. But you don’t have to do that part right away. You could start with the regular setup if you want.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by junk mail that is not true spam. Ordinarily, legitimate senders will honor requests to unsubscribe (e.g. if you buy something from an online store and they start sending you marketing e-mails).

Thank you for the replies, especially on a Sunday evening!

Meaning option #1 in section 3.14?

They should but in my experience they don’t always. Or they have so many types of emails that unsubscribing only applies to one type of the emails they send. This happens with professional organizations that one was once associated with. Or unsubscribing is temporary. By true spam, I mean the sort that are selling snake oil or the frankly malware type. At any rate, is SpamSieve a good way to deal with marketing emails?

I have just noticed the part in the manual where is says iCloud is not a recommended email provider. It is currently my main email provider. I didn’t realize they weed out spam that I never even see. Now I have to rethink everything, if SpamSieve doesn’t work well with iCloud mail. Is it possible to use SpamSieve with my other email accounts, and leave iCloud out of it, or would this not be desirable?



Do you expect to receive other good messages from these organizations? Or do you want to block all future messages from them?

There is no issue between SpamSieve and iCloud. We just don’t recommend iCloud in general because its spam filter deletes some messages sight unseen. No software on your Mac can rescue good messages that the server already deleted.

Some I want to block entirely. I imagine that is fairly easy. Some I get some good emails from, and I presume that is much more difficult to deal with.

That’s a relief.

Will have to rethink using iCloud email, as I had not known this feature before seeing it in your manual. Fastmail may be a better option. Must get over the idea of paying for something that can be obtained for free, though I logically know that “free” has a cost that is probably worse than the monetary fee of Fastmail.

Just to be clear, the filtering in question is done by iCloud email not the Apple Mail client? So if I use Fastmail in Apple Mail client, this filtering behind the scenes that I cannot see will not occur?

There are different strategies you can take here:

  1. The simplest is to train the ones you don’t want as spam and the ones you do want as good. SpamSieve will usually end up doing the right thing, even with different types of messages from the same sender. However, there may be slight negative affects on the filtering due to giving it mixed signals about the “legitimate” sender that won’t let you unsubscribe.

  2. You could optionally create a Mail rule above the SpamSieve rule to delete messages from the sender that you want to block. This would ensure that all of them get blocked, and it would avoid potentially confusing SpamSieve because you wouldn’t be telling it that the messages that are not really spam are spam.

  3. You could optionally create a Mail rule above the SpamSieve rule to move the good messages from the “spammy” sender to a different mailbox. This would ensure (if there’s an easy way to differentiate them) that they all get through, and you would avoid potentially confusing SpamSieve by training it that some messages from the same sender were good and some were spam.

In both cases there are potentially 4 layers of filtering happening:

  1. The iCloud or FastMail server filter deletes some messages up front. With iCloud, this can be a big problem for some users, as sometimes important good messages get deleted. Some users have no issues with it, though. With FastMail, we’ve never heard of this being a problem because it only deletes messages sent through machines that are known spam senders.

  2. The iCloud or FastMail filter moves some messages to the Junk mailbox. This stage can be adjusted or turned off in FastMail, if you want. With iCloud, it’s not configurable.

  3. Apple Mail’s junk filter processes the messages that make it to your Apple Mail inbox. We recommend turning this off.

  4. SpamSieve filters the messages that make it to your Apple Mail inbox. And it can optionally rescue good messages that were moved to the Junk mailbox in #2.

Thank you very much. I have now attempted to set up option 1 (not drone) with the spam mailbox on the server. I opted to only make one spam mailbox for all accounts, and I chose my Fastmail email address, hoping that this is how it designates its server. The options were the local “on my Mac”, and my other email addresses. Are the other email addresses how it designates their servers?
Also, when I created the spam mailbox, it told me one already existed, so I created a junk mailbox and went to mailbox behaviors and designated the Junk mailbox to be “Junk”. I took this from the drone instructions for receiving an error of Spam mailbox already existing on the server. Does it apply here too? I am confused about whether my spam will be going to this junk mailbox or to the spam mailbox.
And am I correct in understanding that the one box on what I presume to be the Fastmail server, will work for all my mail accounts in Apple Mail?
I have not attempted any extra rules yet. I did turn off Fastmail’s spam protection (changed it to custom). By the way, this section of their settings is a little different from how it used to be in your link.

Yes, each blue “@” symbol represents one of your accounts. If you select that, Mail will create the new mailbox at the top level of that account on the server.

In some cases, a Spam mailbox already exists for use by the server junk filter. You can either set the SpamSieve rule to use that mailbox, too, or you could create a separate SpamSieveSpam mailbox if you want. Or, Junk is fine, too.

The SpamSieve-caught spam will go to the mailbox that you selected in the rule. Since you turned off the server junk filter, there shouldn’t be any messages going to the Spam mailbox.

Normally, yes. A small percentage of macOS 10.15 users are running into a bug where Apple Mail is not able to move messages from one account to another, and in that case it’s better to use an On My Mac mailbox or a separate one for each account.

I’m sorry to be asking so many questions. I see that Gmail is not listed as a recommended email host. Is this because it is not possible to turn off its native spam filtering?
Thank you.

There actually is a way to do that. Gmail is not one of the recommended hosts because it’s one of the less reliable ones we’ve used (that is, the IMAP server reports transient errors or is temporarily unavailable). Also, there can be weird behavior when using Gmail through Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook compared with more standard IMAP hosts. That said, Gmail lis very popular, so obviously lots of people are happy with it, and it works fine with SpamSieve.

I created the gmail filter. Thanks.

Hello again. I have attempted to set up SpamSieve with the Spam mailbox on the server, for all my email accounts. My spam is going mostly to the Junk folder under all mailboxes, with a little going to a Junk folder under Gmail. This is the presumably the one I created to tell Mail behaviors to use Junk. (which is an instruction I saw for someone who had a similar problem.). Am I supposed to have more than one Junk folder? I don’t think so. I turned off Gmail’s spam filter(by creating the filter you describe above), and Apple Mail’s as well. I am moving away from gmail, but this will take time. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

Unfortunately, the way you’ve described it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand what you’re trying to do with so many different mailboxes.

  • What is the name of the mailbox selected in the SpamSieve rule in Mail?
  • What is the name of the mailbox that you set in Change Settings?
  • What is the name of the extra spam/junk mailbox that you created?
  • What does Mailbox Behaviors show as the Junk Mailbox? It sounds like maybe the wrong one is selected if you still see Junk inside the Gmail account.
  • What were you trying to accomplish by using Mailbox Behaviors?

There should be one per account under the Mailboxes section and none under the individual account sections.


I’m sorry; this sounds familiar but I cannot remember where or what Change settings is. (Don’t pull your hair out when you read this!)


It is Junk for all but Yahoo which has Bulk Mail.

I was trying to follow advice given to someone else who seemed to have the same problem.

I was trying to have one server located spam mailbox for all accounts, but I don’t object to having individual ones. Right now, mine are not as you say they should be.

It’s in the Message menu in Apple Mail. It lets you control where the manually trained spam messages go.

I’m not sure what “same problem” you’re referring to. If you just want all the spam to go to a single server mailbox, you can just select that mailbox in the SpamSieve rule. You shouldn’t need to create additional mailboxes or use Mailbox Behaviors.

“Same problem”: Someone had gmail spam going to Junk folder instead of Spam folder.


I deleted the extra junk box I created. But my Spam box on the server is listed under Fastmail, not under the Mailboxes section. I don’t know how to create it such that it is under the Mailboxes section. There is the original Junk mailbox under the Mailboxes section.

The Mailboxes section is only for the special mailboxes, like Inbox and Junk. It sounds like you went through a bunch of extra steps because you wanted the mailbox to appear as Spam, which is not a special mailbox, so it will appear under your account. And now you are asking how to put Spam under Mailboxes, which is not possible. Perhaps you’d be happier with the default Mail setup using the Junk mailbox under Mailboxes.