I know how to setup basic rules to move emails in Apple Mail from the inbox of an email account into folders. Is it possible to do the same thing the other way around, i.e., to move emails that are already within a folder back into the inbox or some folder?

For example: I am moving potential spam emails into the Junk folder on the server and mark them as read before Apple Mail deals with them. Sometimes it happens that emails are wrongly classified as spam and in most cases I can recover those email simply by checking whether the sender is in my contact. Therefore, I would like to apply a simple rule to the Junk folder with Apple Mail and move emails back into the email account's inbox if the sender is in my contact.

Is Apple Mail capable of that?

  • Your question is not clear. What is doing the spam filtering in the first place? Why not set Mail prefs to not filter if sender is in Contacts?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 14:43
  • @Tetsujin I am not filtering spam with Apple Mail. I am doing that on my mail server, so emails are moved into folders before they are downloaded by Apple Mail. But ignore the example for now. My only question is: how can I apply a filter rule in Apple Mail on an IMAP folder? So far I could only figure out how to apply rules on the general inbox of an email account.
    – F Lekschas
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


I figured out it's at possible to apply rules to emails in drafts, sent, junk, trash, archive or other IMAP folders by selecting all messages and selection Message > Apply Rules.

The issue might have been that the spam emails are flagged as read on the server before they are loaded by Apple Mail and that Apple Mail doesn't apply rules to new emails if they are flagged as read already.

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