I created some rules in Mail 6.6 application.

Now, I want to apply these rules on my existing mails in mailbox, not just to the inbox, that is going to my mailbox after creation of the rules.

How can I achieve this?

  • I just got blasted with thousands of e-mails from our error system, and for some reason rules wasn't able to handle all of those mails at once. Manually using Apply Rules puts them in their appropriate folder, but I had to smash Apply Rules like 5 times to get it to work for all of my Cmd+A selected messages, or maybe it was just super laggy. The question is, why didn't the rules apply? Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 16:22
  • Yes I too get a storm of emails I don't want clogging my inbox and want to delete later but only after they've been in another mailbox for a day. It seems like there's no solution for this. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


To apply the rules to existing messages, just select the mailbox and use "Apply Rules" from the "Message" menu. Or use the shortcut ++L

Screenshot: Apply Rules

  • 4
    This does not work in Mail.app 11.2. The Apply Rules item on the Message menu only applies to selected messages.
    – Sam Axe
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 19:15
  • @SamAxe just plug in the power adapter to your MacBook
    – xrabbit
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 16:24

Best and easiest solution - Select all emails from that folder you want to apply rules, (probably a cmd + A) and Select 'Apply Rules' on right click menu.

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