C-Command Software Forum

Intermittent Training and Filtering Timeouts on M1 Macs

What is happening?

For most users, and in my own testing, SpamSieve 2.9.41 works normally on the new M1 Macs with Apple Silicon. However, I’ve received a few reports here and via e-mail of what seems to be a macOS bug that sometimes interrupts the Apple events communication between the mail program and SpamSieve:

  • For Apple Mail, filtering incoming messages is not affected (as it doesn’t use Apple events). However, sometimes if you train a message it will look like nothing happened. Or, if you train multiple messages at once, nothing may happen for a while (for each message it waits 2 minutes for a response from SpamSieve before giving up), but then some of the messages may get trained and moved.

  • For Outlook, messages may collect in the InboxSpamSieve folder, as the Outlook Filter Mailboxes helper app (which will show as “Not Responding” in the Dock) is not able to send the messages to SpamSieve. Also, the training commands may intermittently not work.

  • For other mail clients, we’ve not yet received any problem reports, but as the problem seems to be related to Apple events they are likely affected similarly.

In all cases, the problems seem to be intermittent. Some users report that there are certain messages that always or never work. Others report that a particular message may not work but then will work later after restarting the Mac.

How do know if I’m affected?

The problem only occurs on Macs with Apple Silicon, and seemingly only for a small percentage of users. Aside from noticing the above symptoms, the Console log may show an error like:

SpamSieve Apple Mail Plug-In [Train as Spam] Error training: SpamSieve got an error: AppleEvent timed out.


SpamSieve [Outlook Filter Mailboxes] Error: SpamSieve got an error: AppleEvent timed out.

Or, when training a message from Outlook, it may show an alert with a timeout error.

What is the fix?

We are currently trying to gather more information about what is happening on these Macs in order to develop a workaround and make a bug report to Apple. If you’re seeing one or more of the above problems and would like to help, please:

  1. Download this test version of SpamSieve (2.9.42a2) and follow the instructions in the Read Me file to replace your existing copy of SpamSieve.

  2. Quit your mail program and enable some extra debug logging by clicking this link and this link. Additionally, Apple Mail users should click here, and Outlook users should click here. Once you’ve clicked all the links, quit and relaunch SpamSieve. (Debug logging can be disabled by clicking these links: 1, 2, 3, 4.)

  3. Outlook users should quit or force-quit the Outlook Filter Mailboxes app, replace it with this new version (dated 2020-12-24), and then relaunch it.

  4. See whether the problem still occurs when filtering or training a message. Please let me know via e-mail whether the test version fixed the problem. If the problem still occurs, please save a diagnostic report right away and submit that via e-mail along with a description of what you did that didn’t work.

  5. If you find that there is a certain message that always fails to train, please move it to a separate folder in you mail program (so you can find it later if needed for future testing) and save it to disk to include as an attachment along with your diagnostic report. In both Apple Mail and Outlook, you can save the message using File ‣ Save As…. In Apple Mail, make sure that Format is set to Raw Message Source. In Outlook, select Email Message from the pop-up menu.

Thanks for your help in investigating this bug.

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I think the macOS bug is successfully worked around in SpamSieve 2.9.42b1, which is now in public beta.

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The fix is now available in SpamSieve 2.9.42.