How to kill spam on your Mac

“Email spam is more than a nuisance. It should be outlawed by the governments of civilized nations,” Kate MacKenzie writes for PixoBebo.

“Why? It wastes time and resources,” MacKenzie writes. “Spam comes and goes, but here are the two best methods I’ve found to nearly eliminate spam on my Mac.”

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MacKenzie writes, “Your Mac comes with built-in Mail and filters, including one to capture Junk mail. As filters go, it’s pretty good. I use it to route incoming email to different mail boxes in Mail. The Junk Mail filter? It’s just not as good as SpamSieve… The other half of my email spam was from my Google Gmail account. Google’s spam filter isn’t bad, but I decided enough was enough. Once I deleted the Gmail account, the other half of my spam problem just disappeared.”

More info and links in the full article here.
 

26 Comments

      1. They haven’t “announced” the new gestures for iOS 5 yet either, but I’ve seen them in the promo videos: 2 finger swiping between apps (like 3 finger in lion between full-screen apps/desktops); and a 3-finger thumb pinch to go to the home screen (a la launchpad in Lion — probably to get us more used to it so they can MAYBE eliminate the home button in future devices as some have rumored).

        I say that to say, with some hope, that a iOS mail app junk handler COULD still be a fall surprise, even if it hasn’t been officially announced. Keep hope alive…

    1. An IMAP email combined with SpamSieve and leaving your computer running works quite well as an iPhone spam filter. There is the energy cost of running the computer, but it works.

      1. That’s about $7.70 per month of electricity (assuming 17 cents per kWhr which is expensive electricity) of energy cost. it’s also 516 kWhr out of 4,156,000,000,000 kWhr produced each year in the US. I’m assuming 63W to keep a laptop running.

        Just food for thought. Accuracy not guaranteed but i think this is right.

    2. I get very few spam mails on my iPhone, despite having three mail accounts. When I get around to checking the junk mail folder on my Mac, however, it’s usually got several hundred spam and junk mails in it. Maybe my mail providers just have better filters than yours do.

    3. I use Earthlink.net. They have a very good spam filter which I leave on high. Those not in my address book go into a spam folder. I look, report then as spam and they are gone forever.

    4. If you have a .me account you can log in online and write rules to trash emails with words like Viagra, sex, winner and so forth.

      Make sure they are not deleted buy moved to junk so you can check for awhile in case wrong ones get diverted.

    5. As far as IMAP is concerned, there might be a solution.
      If you use an iPhone app — MailCat on AppStore, you can design your own spam filter(MailCat has a built-in machine learning categorizer) , and could eliminate spams or junk mails from your inbox if you trained it properly. If you have a few interest in it, just check it.

  1. so pretty much an ad for SpamSieve then? How is this a solution? Delete your Gmail account? Yep, delete your mail account and your spam problems will all go away. Thanks for such a well thought out article. You’re a genius!!!

  2. Even better, just stop spam dead it it’s tracks! Delete Akko your e-mail accounts. No way to get spam then- with the exception of your local super market and junk mail by snail (USPS)

    Yup, solved my problem 😉

  3. Mail.app used to have a Bounce feature, which would send an “address not valid” message back to the sender of the bounced message. Lion’s version of Mail seems to have removed this. This makes me very sad, because I was able to cut down on A LOT of spam this way.

    1. Bounce never worked for me.
      It would send it back, but it never stopped the sender.

      Always thought you could still right click and select bounce, maybe that’s gone also. Haven’t checked.

      I used spamsieve years ago on windblows, worked pretty good. Maybe I’ll try it on Mac now. But I don’t get that much spam anymore, changed email address. Still get 1-2 from time to time, and that’s with the server side spam filters turned off…

  4. Oh, wait, I got an epiphany!

    Wanna get rid of spam? Why stop on gMail? Get rid of email altogether!

    “Get rid of” is NOT a solution. Sorry. It’s too easy.

    It that case, let me give you the ultimate solution:

    Want to wipe out your concerns? Get rid of your responsibilities!

    Want to keep more money in your pocket? Get rid of your bills!

    Want to get rid of unwanted phone calls? Get rid of your phone?

    Want to get rid of your problems? Get rid of your life?

    Plain stupid.

  5. Just establish “disposable” email accounts that you delete when too much junk gets by the filter.

    It is dirt cheap to get anyold URL for <$10 and setup a number of email accounts.

    1. True.

      I use my me.com for personal stuff.
      I have two other emails, 1 for forums and info etc. And one for games and other stuff.

      Guess which one gets all the spam?…

      Instead of paying the $10 a year, go to one of the free imap email sites. Same thing like you do, but no cost. Don’t bother with pop3.. Imap so everything is sync’d, if you are like me… iPhone, iPad, and 2 macs you get email on…
      A pain to keep them the same with pop3.

  6. I had my ISP set the mail account on my main account to “catch all”. It routes any email for *@mydomainname.com into my main mailbox. That way, when I go to a site like CNET and they want an email address I give them cnet@mydomainname.com. Then I use procmail filters to route incoming mail to various boxes including “SPAM Box” or even to “dev/null” if it scores high enough on my spam filter recipe.

    BTW, since OS X is unix under the hood I run many unix apps in the background. I haven’t tried running procmail directly on my Mac, but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work.

  7. I have my domains pointed to my gmail account, the junk filter of which I find does a decent job. All this mail is automatically archived and forwarded to my mobile me inbox. The gmail account effectively acting as a junk filter and a backup. My mobile me account has probably only ever had a handful of spam emails sent to it and mail.app caught them when running.

    I also use a different email address for everything, then when I do a quick scan of the junk mail folder I can see if a particular service is generating a lot of spam and I just block it. Interestingly the official Dilbert site was at one point one of the biggest sources of spam.

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