Identify and filter junk mail in iCloud

Learn how iCloud filters out unwanted bulk email messages, also known as junk mail or spam.

iCloud automatic junk mail filtering

iCloud uses trend analysis, dynamic lists, and other technology to automatically detect and block junk mail before it reaches your inbox. While there isn’t a way to completely stop junk mail from reaching your inbox, here are some tips that can help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.

If you think a message might be junk mail, don't open it

When you open an email that looks like junk mail, it can alert spammers that their message was received and opened from an active email account. This can lead to more junk mail. Delete any messages that look like junk mail before you open them. Then you can avoid more junk mail from spammers.

Spammers use the email image-loading feature to determine whether your email account is active. Here's how to keep images from loading automatically:

  • In OS X Mail on your Mac, choose Mail > Preferences. In the Viewing tab, deselect Load remote content in messages.
  • In iCloud Mail, click the Show Actions menu in the sidebar and choose Preferences. In the General tab, deselect Load images in HTML messages.

Consider using an iCloud email alias

You can use an iCloud email alias to prevent junk mail from being sent to your primary iCloud email address. For example, you can use your primary iCloud email address for emailing friends and family, but use an email alias for online registrations, purchasing products, and joining mailing lists. This makes it easier for you to monitor the sources of unwanted messages.

Report junk mail

Filtering junk mail at the server level is only part of the solution. You can report messages as junk in the Mail app and help filter junk mail in iCloud. Then future messages from the same sender are marked as junk.

To mark a message as junk:

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later, open the message, tap the Flag at the bottom, then tap Move to Junk.
  • On your Mac, select the message and click the Junk button in the Mail toolbar. Or you can drag the message to the Junk folder in the sidebar.
  • At iCloud.com, select the message, then click the Flag button and choose Move to Junk. Or you can drag the message to the Junk folder in the sidebar.

Correct false-positives

Filtering out junk mail can block a legitimate email from reaching your inbox. This is called a false-positive.

If you feel that a legitimate email message was accidentally filtered, you can mark it as not junk so that any future messages from the same sender go to your inbox:

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later, open the message in the Junk folder, tap the folder icon at the bottom, then tap Inbox to move the message.
  • On your Mac, select the message and click the Not Junk button in the Mail toolbar. Or just drag the message to the Inbox in the sidebar.
  • At iCloud.com, select the message, then click Not Junk in the notification bar at the top of the message window. Or just drag the message to the Inbox in the sidebar.

If you notice that multiple email messages are being delayed, bounced, or not delivered, contact iCloud Support. Make sure to check your Junk folder for email messages that were incorrectly marked as junk mail. To check your Junk folder at iCloud.com, choose the Mail application and click the Junk folder in the sidebar. Email messages in the Junk folder are automatically deleted after 30 days.

Learn more

Learn more about managing junk mail in iCloud.

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