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I've just setup my Apple Mail client to work with Google Apps through IMAP. One lingering question is how to best handle SPAM (Junk Mail), however.

In their Help section, Google recommends that we disable junk filtering on the client.

This leads me to wonder what we should do when a junk message makes it past Google's filter?

  • Do I just delete the message? If I do, the Google spam filter will never improve and "learn" that the message was junk.

  • Do I have to log in to the web interface at Google to mark the message as spam? That seems a bit arduous for every spam email I get.

What's the best way to handle this? Thanks!

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migrated from Mar 1 '10 at 21:25

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

By dragging and dropping within the SPAM folder, Google (Gmail) will learn that that particular email has SPAM characteristics.

You have to act more than one time to generate an automation, it's very smart.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe I may have found my answer:

Achieving Email Bliss with IMAP, Gmail, and Apple Mail, by Joe Kissell.

The article goes into great depth on how Apple Mail and Gmail / Google Apps interact through IMAP, and he has a lot of helpful tips for how to configure both ends of the system for optimal results.

I would highly recommend that anyone who is using Apple's to connect with Gmail or Google Apps read this article.

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Linking to an 8,000-word article isn't an appropriate answer. Please provide a summary of the solution. – mislav Dec 26 '11 at 12:45
Just to note: This is no longer a relevant answer for 10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite. – Ben Lachman Jan 15 '15 at 19:07

Axeva has the right idea. In short, move spam to the "[Gmail]/Spam" IMAP folder, which is how you mark a message as spam in IMAP-land. Likewise, move messages out of that folder if they're not spam (which is the same as clicking "Not Spam" in the web UI).

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As others have said, the short answer is to move it to the spam folder manually which lets google know it is spam and filter future emails more effectively.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the link in Axeva's answer:

Unlike the other three special mailboxes, Mail doesn't store Junk messages on the server by default, the assumption being that there's no need to waste space on the server with messages you don't want in the first place. But Gmail automatically applies a Spam label to all suspected junk mail, which has the effect of keeping it out of your inbox and putting it in a Spam mailbox when viewed from an IMAP client. [...]

[...] My personal preference, is to go ahead and let Mail treat Gmail's Spam label/mailbox as the Junk mailbox for that account. This has no effect on the number of spam messages downloaded to your computer. What it does change is putting all the junk mail in one place and eliminating an extra mailbox - so I like it for the sake of tidiness. In addition, it means that whenever Mail marks a message as spam by moving it to the Junk mailbox, it also tells Gmail that the message is spam, helping to improve Gmail's spam filtering for all users at the same time Gmail helps to improve Mail's junk mail filtering by teaching it which messages it thinks are spam.

To set up the Junk mailbox in the way I prefer, first choose Mail > Preferences, click Junk Mail, and make sure the Enable Junk Mail Filtering box is checked. Under "When junk mail arrives," if the top radio button (Mark As Junk Mail, but Leave It in My Inbox) is selected, instead select Move It to the Junk Mailbox and click Move. Next, go back to the main Mail window, select Spam under [Gmail], and choose Mailbox > Use This Mailbox For > Junk. The Spam mailbox then disappears from under [Gmail] and reappears as a sub-mailbox under the main Junk item. Now, whether Gmail flags a message as spam, or Mail's Junk Mail filter does, or you manually mark a message as spam in either place, it'll show up in the same mailbox - the one Mail calls Junk, and Gmail's Web site calls Spam. [...]

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