In OSX Mail some Spam with "**SPAM**" in subject (by SpamAssassin) not caught


Mail client: OSX Mail Version 9.3 (3124)
SpamSieve: 2.9.24

I have setup a rule that catches any email - marked with “SPAM” in the subject by SpamAssassin to be caught by SpamSieve. This is working for some of the junk mail, but not all. If I open the log, I find that the emails - with “SPAM” in the subject - in the inbox are not listed.

Emails that are caught by the rule look like this:

Predicted: Spam (99)
Subject:  ***SPAM***  Re: 1 Instacheat Request is Pending
Identifier: IHhHENnfr4gNd/9dEnRfZw==
Reason: (
    " ***SPAM***  Re: 1 Instacheat Request is Pending"
) matched rule <Subject Contains "***SPAM***"> in SpamSieve blocklist
Date: 2016-09-07 14:49:59 +0100 (GMT+1)

It seems strange that some emails are caught, yet others aren’t.

Any advice welcome.

Many thanks,


That probably means they weren’t processed by SpamSieve at all. For example, Mail won’t send the messages to SpamSieve for analysis if they were already marked as read or if the rule is not set up properly.

Thanks for the reply, and the links. I have checked all of the setup, and all looks to be spot on;

SpamSieve rule is the only rule I have and is set to ‘any’, ‘Every Message’, ‘Move Message’ and ‘Spam’. Enable junk mail filtering is off.

Any ideas why some messages are skipped?

I checked all of the settings and everything looks correct. Spamsieve is the only junk mail rule I have, and junk mail filtering is set to off.

If I select the messages that were not processed and run ‘Messages > Apply Rules’, they are correctly processed.

As you suggested, it would suggest that these messages are not being passed to SpamSieve on load… As to why, I am not sure, as there is nothing different about them - that is immediately obvious - than the ones that are caught on start up.

Any thoughts? SpamAssassin interfering? The reason I enabled SpamAssassin was that so much spam was getting through - so I think it’s actually helped reduce this issue, not cause it.

That’s good. Did the messages arrive unread and in the inbox folder?

Hmmm, I have done a test and the messages arrive in the Inbox but are not marked as Unread. (I had to change the view to classic in OSX Mail to see this).

What’s odd is that other messages are caught and put into Spam. The only difference is that looking at times, the Spam was caught yesterday successfully between 03:18 - 15:19, and not caught from 18:47-21:20. Today all spam was not caught from 00:06 - 06:41.

My setup for this email account has:

  • SpamAssassin setup to mark messages as ‘SPAM’ in the subject; of which some are caught.
  • gmail setup to pull in POP3 email from this account
  • No IMAP - other than the one in OSX Mail - setup

Thanks for your help

If the messages arrive as already read, Mail won’t apply any rules to them, and thus SpamSieve won’t see them.

Does it help if you temporarily turn that off?

No other devices (even iPhone) that might be accessing this account?

Yes, understood, SpamSieve only processes new emails.

I’ve turned off the POP3 for now, and will take a look tomorrow and see if that helps.

Yup, only client other than OSX mail connecting via IMAP is my Smartphone. But I’ll wrack my brains and see if there’s anything else.


If the messages are still getting marked as read, perhaps it would be worth shutting down (not just sleeping) your phone to see whether that helps.

Okay, I think we might have the solution. It looks as though Gmail’s retrieval of POP3 email is a bit shoddy, and it marks some messages as read when they shouldn’t be. I found this link:!topic/gmail/tqoVHLY22ec that appears to be to do with the same issue.

I’ll keep an eye on it, but all looking good so far.

Thanks for your help :wink:

This does indeed look like it’s working.

Today some “*** SPAM ***” messages did make it through, but it looks like this is because they are being sent using my personal email address.

Is it ok to Train as Spam emails that are spoofed from my email account as Spam? Does this mean that email that I legitimately send to myself would also be caught?


Yes, please see this page.

Not if you also train some ones from yourself as good.