Spam Messages not moving to defined mailbox (v3.0)

Hi Michael (& all)–

I’ve tried everything I know about to have SS3.0 filter messages to a different mailbox, but am not having success.

Currently, SS is not auto-filtering (as described in a different thread), but turning time-based polling on for the various inboxes seems to have worked around that problem.

I have tried to follow explicitly the directions in the manual (Section 4.5.4) while using the Mail extension. The section under “Separate Mailboxes for Each Spam Filter” is what I have been trying to do.

I’d like the spam caught by SS on my main Gmail account to move to a different mailbox than the spam caught by Gmail’s server-side filtering. What I’m seeing happening is that SS-caught spam is (finally) being labeled appropriately, but is not disappearing from the Inbox. All of my SS-caught spam is in both the account’s Inbox AND in my defined spam location (a mailbox called “Bulk Mail”).

Thoughts on what I should try or settings I should adjust?

Thank you for the DECADES of filtering!

macOS: Ventura 13.6; Mail: v16.0 (3731.700.6); SS v3.0

Is this from the perspective of In Apple Mail, the defined spam location will always show as the special Junk mailbox. Also, do you mean the actual Inbox (not a smart mailbox)?

I have found that with Gmail, in particular, everything works much better if you use its actual [Gmail]/Spam mailbox in Mailbox Behaviors. That way it knows which messages you think are spam and will keep them out of the archive.

Yes–definitely Gmail. The email account in question (where I want to have Gmail’s filtering land in one mailbox and SS filtering land in a different mailbox) is configured as follows:

  • Created a mailbox “Gmail/Bulk Mail”
  • Mail->Settings->Accounts->Gmail Account->Mailbox Behaviors: set Junk Mailbox to “Gmail/Bulk Mail”
  • SS->Settings->Apple Mail->Training: set “When you train a message as spam” to Move it to the mailbox “Bulk Mail” on the server

As described towards the end of Section 4.5.4 in the manual, I no longer see the new mailbox (Gmail/Bulk Mail) because has defined it as’s “Junk” mailbox. Similarly, I see a plain mailbox (Gmail/Spam) that appeared that holds the server-filtered mail.

However, using the above settings, SS-caught spam is moving to “Gmail/Bulk Mail” (aka ‘Junk’), but also remains in “Gmail/Inbox”–it appears to be doing a copy instead of a move. The messages are colored gray in both locations. I haven’t had the opportunity to try training a message yet to see if the ‘move while training’ part of the equation works.

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding something, or have mis-configured something, but I expected to see SS-caught spam messages only appear in “Gmail/Bulk Mail” (aka “Junk”) for that specific Gmail account.

Any additional thoughts?

I think it will work better if you select [Gmail]/Spam in Mailbox Behaviors.

I double-checked a few things…

  • As you say, selecting [Gmail]/Spam in the account’s Mailbox Behaviors does indeed move SS-caught spam to that folder. No SS-caught spam remains in my Inbox. However, that lumps all of Gmail’s and SS’s caught spam into the same folder.

  • Following the instructions in 4.5.4 - Separate Mailboxes for Each Spam Filter to the letter (to the best of my ability) and creating a [Gmail]/SpamSieveSpam mailbox (in case that specific mailbox name was a trigger of some kind for SS) and using it in the account’s Mailbox Behaviors results in the same behavior stated above–SS-caught spam is colored and ‘copied’ to that mailbox, while still remaining in the account’s inbox.

I’m still uncertain how to achieve my goal of having Gmail-caught spam land in Gmail’s default “Spam” mailbox and having SS-caught spam be moved to a different mailbox (regardless of name) for this specific account.

I haven’t taken the plunge into Sonoma yet, so perhaps that will make a difference?

Any further insight is welcome…


I think the bottom line is that Gmail is special and sometimes likes to copy messages rather than move them. This problem is more common now than in the past, so I don’t know whether it’s related to a change in how Apple Mail tells it to move messages. But, oddly, it does not seem to affect everyone. I don’t know of a workaround other than using [Gmail]/Spam, although once the messages are there you can probably move them out to another mailbox without creating copies.

Perhaps you could explain more about what you’re trying to accomplish with having two separate spam mailboxes?

I doubt it, but please let me know what you find.

Gmail’s server-side filtering usually catches all the most egregious spam (drugs, hair loss, etc.), but allows desired ‘bulk mail’ through (newsletters, company propaganda, etc.). I’ve spent a bunch of years training SS to catch bulk mail and set it aside for later examination. If I were only on a Mac, using SS’s color-coding would suffice, but since’s colors don’t carry over to other devices, moving the bulk mail to its own box has worked great in the past.

Regardless, this problem has been resolved for me! I combed back through the manual and went back to first principles as described in Section 4.7 of the manual. I turned OFF “Show in IMAP” for “All Mail” and that seems to have done the trick. Now SS-caught mail is moved properly to a “Bulk Mail” mailbox I defined per the other instructions.

I did notice some unusual downloading behavior (it looked like Mail re-indexed and/or re-downloaded all my mail), and I see a different set of files uploaded to my cloud backup system (individual mailbox plist files instead of just a couple), but everything seems to be working well.

As a side note, finding messages is better now too–I can see which mailbox the messages are in instead of every one of them saying “All Mail” – Gmail sure is strange with how it interacts with

Still under Ventura (13.6) and SS 3.0. I’ll be back if anything changes once I move to Ventura.

Hope this guides others as something else to try :slight_smile:


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I wonder if it would be helpful of SpamSieve could mark the spam messages it finds with a colored flag, since that can sync between devices. There’s currently an esoteric preference for the plug-in to do this, but it’s not implemented the extension.

Great! Thanks for the follow-up.

I think this is related to the fact that Mail is sort of optimized for Gmail’s All Mail mailbox. It seems to know that the same messages show up there and in other mailboxes and avoids storing duplicates. But the way it’s implemented is that the messages are stored on disk in the All Mail folder, so when you removed that from IMAP it probably had to download all the messages again to store them in their proper mailboxes.

With SpamSieve 3.0.1b1, this is now available for the extension, too.

Rock on! Clever work-around to accommodate the variety of devices (and apps) folks–well, I–use! :slight_smile: