Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail Internet
While this is not a specific hint for MacOS systems, it may be of interest of MacOS users, so here it is. The problem with most anti-spam systems is that you have to download all messages to your computer, including spam, in order to filter them. But what if you could download just the non-spam messages?

If you have a Gmail account, you can! Here's how:
  1. Configure your Gmail account to allow reading/sending emails using POP/SMTP.
  2. Configure (or other mail application you may use) to read your Gmail account.
Since your Gmail Inbox is filtered against spam, you will be reading just valid (mostly) emails. All spam will be held in Gmail's Spam box, far from your computer.

[robg adds: A simple hint, but worth consideration if you don't mind using the address as your main point of contact. Obviously, this will work with any online mail service that moves spam out of your inbox via automated filters.]
  • Currently 2.80 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (5 votes cast)

Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail | 11 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: notverypc on Aug 21, '06 08:21:16AM
if you don't mind using the address as your main point of contact.
I think the post is still using their non-gmail address as their main point of contact but using Gmail to check their non-gmail account for spam. Then with Mail configured to access Gmail, their Spam free non-gmail emails are also downloaded.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: gregraven on Aug 21, '06 08:58:36AM

I've been using this technique for months, but I continue to use my regular e-mail addresses. I just have each of my other e-mail accounts forward to my Gmail account, and have check my Gmail account via POP. I'm essentially using Gmail as a spam filter.

I also use Gmail's SMTP for outgoing mail. In Gmail, I set my preferences so that all outgoing mail appears to be coming from my main non-Gmail account.

Another equally nice feature of setting up your accounts this way, is that you can send and receive e-mail from anywhere through Gmail, using Before doing this, when traveling I could receive my e-mail fine, but replying meant going through all kinds of contortions, due to port blocking. Gmail connects via SSL on a different port, so wherever I go, I can send and receive e-mail seamlessly just as I do when I'm home.

Greg Raven
Apple Valley, CA

[ Reply to This | # ]
sending mail through gmail makes From address as gmail address..
Authored by: alexmathew on Sep 25, '06 07:55:26PM

This is a problem - infact a more serious problem is that if you have mail from another address forwarded to gmail and POP setup in gmail, mail sent to the original address via gmail smtp will not be delivered. The smtp server accepts the e-mail but then it disappears - not even seen in sent mail.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: mike3k on Aug 21, '06 10:30:17AM

I forward my .Mac address to my Gmail account so it can take advantage of Gmail's spam filtering rather than using's server directly. I find that .Mac's spam filtering is practically non-existant, but gmail's filter will catch all of the spam when I forward my email to it.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: trapdoor on Aug 21, '06 01:01:57PM

I did this about 6 months ago and my spam was cut from about 800 a week down to 50 and mail gets most of the 50 so I only get around 5 to 8 a week in my inbox - before I had about 20 a day that mail didn't catch. As you can imagine i'm a fan of Gmail!!! As someone else pointed out I have set it up so my out going mail doesn't show my gmail address just my original address so I have had no issue with having to inform every one of a changed address.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: pvera on Aug 21, '06 01:04:15PM
Don't forget that google will gladly host your own domain for free for up to 25 accounts. Each account has about 2GB or so of space, and is otherwise identical to the functionality that you would get by using a true gmail account.

More details can be found at

I have used it since the beta started. It is great because my domain is so old (and I have had the same address since forever) that I get a terrible amount of spam. Google will eat up 90%+ of the spam, so if I use it will only have to deal with that last 10% that google couldn't recognize.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: davidm on Aug 21, '06 02:36:08PM

Is there any way this can work for those of us who want to see the same message list on 2 or more macs? I've been using IMAP, as it's the best for keeping 2 machines in sync. But my address gets lots of spam. It would be nice to use this Gmail trick, but I can't really have my IMAP account forward messages to Gmail, and then Gmail forward them back to the IMAP account, can I?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: eagle on Aug 21, '06 03:01:15PM

Yes - see my comment about how I use a solution similar to this one with Earthlink. You should be able to do something similar yourself - all you need is a target email server that is accessible via IMAP.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: eagle on Aug 21, '06 02:56:37PM

I'm probably the only person in the world who refuses to use gmail, so I've been doing this same thing with Earthlink for months (years?) now. I forward all of my email through earthlink which is, like Google, also known for its excellent spam catcher. However, since earthlink doesn't support SSL for checking mail, I forward my mail back to my Linux server, on which I run SSL. Then, I can securely access my spam-free emailbox however I want - IMAP, POP, or elm. It's great.

My spam level went down 90% the day I implemented this.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Keep spam email from reaching the inbox via Gmail
Authored by: murph on Aug 21, '06 10:36:01PM

My comment is ultimately more of a rant about's spam filtering, but I also have Gmail and ATT/Yahoo set up for pop access though Mail. Gmail is my secondary address and ATT Yahoo is my primary, largely because I've been using ATT/Yahoo much longer than Gmail. I've always set up Gmail to filter and hold spam (which it does quite well) and ATT/Yahoo is also set up for spam filtering, but I elected to have whatever ATT/Yahoo considered spam downloaded to due to the fact that I have been using that account for so long and I wanted to check it just in case there was ever a false positive. ATT/Yahoo also has a feature where it will mark anything it thinks is spam by placing "[Bulk]" in front of the message subject line if you choose to download it via pop access. My idea was that would be set up so it would automatically route anything ATT/Yahoo marked as spam directly to the Junk Mailbox and I would periodically check it there. That's where the nightmare began with

In's preferences, there is a checkbox to trust junk mail headers sent by the service provider. Apparently, doesn't recognize ATT/Yahoo's header, because it would occasionally ignore spam downloaded from ATT/Yahoo that had [Bulk] in the subject line. Fine. The next step was to make use of the [Bulk] that ATT/Yahoo places in the subject line so I added a new rule just above the "mail is junk mail" rule in the advanced section of Mail's Junk preferences where [Bulk] in the subject line was included as criteria to mark as junk. That also didn't work, amazingly enough. Mail with [Bulk] in the subject line would STILL occasionally slip through untouched. Fine...

The next attempt was to use a regular rule and not one from the advanced section of the Junk mail pref. Low and behold, that worked...except, unlike spam that Mail automatically places in the junk mailbox, the new message sound would occur (like it was a legitimate message) and the message was not marked by Mail as junk, even though the rule routed it right into the junk mailbox as expected. Very odd behavior, since manually dragging and dropping a message into the junk mailbox automatically marks that message as junk.

So finally I just gave up and no longer bother with it. I reset ATT/Yahoo so spam remains there and I go to their website every once in awhile just to check for false positives (so far extremely rare). It's kind of a pain, but this post doesn't attempt to recall all of the conceivable combinations of rules and/or Junk mail settings I tried to get this to work. Apparently, to achieve the utterly simple sounding goal of having any message with [Bulk] in the subject line automatically marked as junk and placed in the Junk mailbox is simply beyond's abilities and that's kind of sad.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Great but Filtered Forward has problems..
Authored by: alexmathew on Sep 25, '06 08:02:30PM
This hint is great but I wanted to go a step further and filter messages from various accounts I have to gmail - then do a conditional forward to another external account where I would have IMAP'ed it. gmail simply refuses to forward a mail filtered by the From and then to another address... There have been many complaints about it on the google help forums but this seems to be a very buggy process in gmail.
Anyway I just currentlly Filter, Archive and Label in gmail - then POP it in Mail - then use smart folders to check for various accounts - I wish conditional forwarding would also work!!
Anyone want to help me troubleshoot this?

Here's my problem in detail as I posted at a google help forum:
Forwarding after applying a filter does not work for me. Here is a
sample filter:
Matches: to:(@
Do this: Forward to mailbox @, Skip Inbox, Apply label
Other posts about this...
Other discussions referencing this problem are here:

[ Reply to This | # ]