There are times when it is easy to make a recommendation for an app just based upon a few simple and straightforward questions. For example, if you have multiple email accounts, and you’ve had them for many years, chances are good you get spam. Got spam?
Of course. How do you get rid of spam? Simply put, you can’t. Spam is a scourge and as long as we have email accounts, we’re likely to receive messages we don’t want. Can you mitigate spam? Reduce it to a minor annoyance? Yes. On the Mac. How about on iPhone and iPad? Yes. If you have a Mac.
The Mac comes with Mail for email and it’s a decent application as email apps with far too many features go, but it also comes with a built-in Junk Mail filter for spam that is, well, after awhile, junk itself. The best known replacement for Mail’s Junk Mail option to capture and segregate spam messages is SpamSieve. The app has been around for years and seems to get better over time.
SpamSieve blocks messages that fit specific patterns, but it can easily whitelist all the email addresses in your Mac’s Contacts app. That means each incoming message is compared against a database of offending code and those messages identified as spam get put into a special folder.
If messages slip through the default settings, that’s OK. Simply select the spam message, then select “Train As Spam” from the pull down menu in Mail, and SpamSieve learns; and learns quickly. I haven’t had a false positive this year and only a couple last year and I have dozens of email accounts to manage at the school where I work and get hundreds of spam messages each day.
Settings are simple and straightforward, too.
If you don’t get much spam, Apple’s Mail app and the Junk Mail filter should be OK for your needs. If you get an onslaught of spam every day, SpamSieve works wonders and not just on the Mac. iPhone and iPad, too.
iPhone & iPad
What about spam on your iPhone or iPad? Again, if it’s not a problem, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you have many email addresses, or email addresses you’ve had for a long time, then spam is an issue on the Mac– and iPhone and iPad. Apple’s Junk Mail filter does what SpamSieve does and helps to block spam from reaching iPhone or iPad.
What if you have a third party email application and don’t use Apple’s Mail? SpamSieve works on Airmail and other Mac email applications, and by using the spam filter you prevent spam messages from showing up on other devices.
Apple doesn’t say why there is no Junk Mail filter for iPhone and iPad, but using a Mac to filter spam first also prevents most of it from showing up on the same email accounts on your iOS devices.