Why You Should Use iCloud Email Rules And Not Mail Rules On Your Mac
Monday June 24, 2019. 03:00 PM , from MacMost
Mail rules in the Mail app on your Mac are robust and powerful but they no longer work well in a world where we get email on multiple devices. Instead, use iCloud email rules, or filters you can set on your email server. These rules will be applied on the server before the messages get to yoru devices, so they will work properly and consistently.
Check out Why You Should Use iCloud Email Rules And Not Mail Rules On Your Mac at YouTube for closed captioning and more options.
Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today I'm going to show you the right way to setup email rules.
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So occasionally I get email from people that want to setup rules for their email. This means that as the email comes in it is automatically processed. It's put into a folder, it's thrown into the trash, it's forwarded to somebody. Now you can do this in the mail app on your Mac. But you shouldn't and I'm going to explain why. The correct way to do it is on the Server. I'll show you how.
So your email originates, of course, from the internet. We'll represent it with this red dot here. Then it's going to go to your email server. From there it's going to go to your computers. Now in the old days we may have had just one desktop computer. Then email would have gone to your desktop computer and then you could have set a rule there in the Mail app. That rule would do something to that email. Label it, move it to a folder, do something. It would apply that rule. That's it. It would work great.
But that's not how things work now. Now we've got multiple computers and other devices like phones, tablets, etc. So what happens is the email comes from the internet and goes to your server. From there it goes to all of your devices. Now if your desktop Mac is the one with the rule it's going to apply that rule on the desktop. Then you'll end up in a state like this. On your desktop the rule has been applied. Perhaps that email has been moved to the trash or a folder, or somewhere else. But if you look on your laptop you don't see that rule applied. If you look on your phone you also won't see it applied.
What will happen eventually is your desktop will sync with the email server and apply that rule across all of your devices. But it will take some time and it's very glitchy. What's worse is say your desktop is offline. It's simply asleep or you've turned it off. Now the email comes into your server and then it goes to your laptop and your phone and the rule is never applied because the desktop isn't awake to apply it. So unless you're going to have your desktop always on and always receiving email and always patiently waiting for your desktop to process an email, sync back to the server before you check your email on your other devices. Setting rules on your desktop computer is not going to be a good way to go about doing it.
A better way is to have the rule applied on the server. So the email comes into the server, the rule is applied there, then the email is sent to your devices. It's sent there already inside a folder, or having been put in the trash, or forwarded to somebody, or marked as read.
Adding a rule on your server is fairly easy. I'm going to show you how to do it if you're using iCloud email. If you're using Goggle or gmail you can do it there as well although they call it Filters. Other email systems will call it different things. You have to usually login to your email service on the web and go to your Controls and Settings there. Old fashioned ISP email is not going to offer this. If you're still getting your email from your ISP you should definitely think about moving to a more modern system like iCloud or gmail.
So I'm going to login to iCloud.com on the browser. This brings up all the iCloud apps and I want to go to Mail. Once I'm in Mail I click on the Actions menu or Settings here at the bottom and go to Rules. This is where I can add rules. There's an Add a Rule button here. It's fairly straight forward from there. You can test to see if a message is from an email address, is addressed to an email address, is cc'd to or is both. You can also check to see if the subject contains words and also you can check the list-id to see if it contains words also. Although I don't really find many examples or a list-id being used in email anymore.
So you enter your information in here so if it's from a certain email address then here's the things that you can do. You can move the email to a folder, move it to the trash, have it forwarded to somebody. You can mark it as read, which is really just a little indicator. It will still be in your inbox. You can combine some things. Mark as read and move to a folder, move to the trash and mark as read at the same time. Forward and also mark as read. So there are the things that you can do.
We'll try this out. Adding this rule here and there's the rule. I can click i to edit it or hit the delete button. I can also drag the rule so I can see which one is applied first. Then I can hit Done and I can return to those rules anytime I want to alter them.
Now there is a downside to using iCloud rules like this because there aren't as many options as there were in the Mail app on the Mac. You can do things like filter by content or stack up a whole bunch of different conditions. So you have to stick to the basics using iCloud rules. If you're using Goggle's gmail servers then you have a lot more options available in their filters.
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