I have an Apple Mail smart mailbox set up to filter out all of the messages that contain a certain string in the subject line.

Now, the problem is that there are A LOT of these messages and so they clutter up my main inbox. As it stands, I can simply see the messages in the smartbox, but they reside in the main inbox.

Is there anyway I can get these messages to move from my main inbox to the smartbox?

2 Answers 2


The short answer is no. Smart mailboxes are basically filters. All mail is still in the original mailbox. Or as Apple puts it:

A Smart Mailbox shows in one location messages that are stored in other mailboxes. For example, a Smart Mailbox might show all messages from a specific sender or with a certain type of attachment, regardless of the mailbox where they’re stored. Source.

You could however create your own sort of smart mailboxes by using rules to move messages around based on certain characteristics. https://support.apple.com/guide/mail/use-rules-to-manage-emails-you-receive-mlhlp1017/mac.

First create your folders. In this example I created "Today" and "Archive":

Showing folders

Then go to Settings and create rules.

Settings with Rules

Example of rules creating a Today folder: Rule for Today

This moves all mail of less than a day old to the folder called Today.

Rule for Archive

The second rule moves all day more than a day old to a folder called archive. This should give you an idea how to work with rules and folders.


A smart mailbox is just a virtual mailbox showing mails which match certain rules. This means that you can't physicallye move mail into a smart mailbox.

In your case you could create a physical mailbox folder instead and use mail rules to move mail matching the subject string directly into this folder on arrival. Apple has a support article explaining how to use rules which might help here.

  • So how do you do that???
    – Jim
    Oct 2, 2019 at 15:43
  • @Ray See update
    – nohillside
    Oct 2, 2019 at 17:42

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