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How to Deal with Spam in Mountain Lion Mail

Although e-mail is a wonderful thing, some people out there try to spoil it. They’re called spammers, and they’re lowlifes who share their lists among themselves — and before you know it, your e-mail box is flooded with get-rich-quick schemes, advertisements for pornographic websites and chat rooms, and all the more traditional buy-me junk mail.

Fortunately, Mail comes with a pretty darn good Junk Mail filter that analyzes incoming message subjects, senders, and contents to determine which ones are likely to contain bulk or junk mail. When you open Mail for the first time, it’s running in its training mode, which is how Mail learns to differentiate between what it considers junk mail and what you consider junk mail; all it needs is your input.

Mail identifies messages it thinks are junk, but if you disagree with its decisions, here’s what you do:

  • Click the Not Junk button in the brown bar for any message that isn’t junk mail.

  • Conversely, if a piece of junk mail slips past Mail’s filters and ends up in the Inbox, select the message and click the Junk button in the Mail window’s toolbar.

After a few days (or weeks, depending upon your mail volume), Mail should be getting it right almost all the time. When you reach that point, choose Move it to the Junk Mailbox on the Junk Mail tab of Mail’s preferences window. Now Mail starts moving junk mail automatically out of your Inbox and into a Junk mailbox, where you can scan the items quickly and trash them when you’re ready.

If you prefer to receive and manually process your junk mail, you can turn off junk-mail processing by disabling it on the Junk Mail tab of Mail’s preferences pane.

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