I know that iOS' Mail.app doesn't do automatic spam filtering. However, my ISP's spam filter is quite good, so it automatically marks all suspicious emails with "[SPAM]" on the Subject line. Thus, I'm looking for some way to have iOS' Mail filter automatically move mails with that expression in the Subject to the Junk folder.

It would seem like a basic feature; I mean, mail programs from 20 years ago had this (filter automatically mails according to sender, Subject line or whatever), but I haven't been able to find it. Does it even exist?

EDIT: if possible, I'm looking for an automated way to filter email. We all know already how to manually find and remove unwanted messages, but the whole point of using computers is to save work, after all...

2 Answers 2


This is definitely something they should have implemented by now since large umbers of people are now using their smart phones as their primary email reader.

Currently, this is how I'd do it:

  1. In iOS Mail tap on the Search field at top of screen
  2. Type [SPAM] in the search field
  3. The screen will show results under various headings
  4. Swipe up until you see the Subjects heading
  5. Now tap on the Subject contains: [SPAM] option
  6. This will bring up all results matching that criteria
  7. Now tap on the blue Edit option at bottom right of the screen
  8. Select all emails
  9. Tap on Mark > Move to Junk

However, you may be able to achieve a more automated approach by creating a Shortcut with the Shortcuts app. I'm heading out now for a most of the day, but if I get a chance I'll try and create a shortcut and edit my answer to explain how I created it.

In the meantime, if you'd like to explore this as an option and you don't already have the app installed, you can download Shortcuts from the App Store.

  • Thanks for your answer. However, I have installed Shortcuts and had a look at the docs, and I don't see any way to make it parse email Subject headers. I only see "hooks" to send emails, filter by email addresses... but nothing about subject lines.
    – PaulJ
    Aug 25, 2019 at 18:41
  • Yeah, unfortunately I've just found the same thing. Shortcuts is going to be enhanced in iOS 13, but of course that doesn't mean we'll get a way to parse email subject headers. It would seem the only options, for now at least, are the steps I outlined in my answer or to try another email client on your iPhone. There are many highly rated ones out there, but since I don't use them personally I'm not in a position to recommend one. :(
    – Monomeeth
    Aug 25, 2019 at 21:39


Do you know if your ISP supports server side Sieve filters?

If so, you can set up rules that are independent of the e-mail client you use. With Sieve, the rules are performed on the server. This allows you to use any e-mail client, including those without filtering/rule support.

E-mail providers such as FastMail and Gandi both support sieve.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .