SpamSieve: A Better Way to Filter E-mail Spam on Your Mac
Utility • Jan.14, 2020
Spams are horrible! They are unsolicited messages sent in bulk, and they infiltrate our inbox with unwanted information and promotional offers, and to our anxiety as well as the count of our unread emails to make our inbox look like a junk house.
While it might be easy to turn a blind eye to spam, it’s true that spam is a bigger problem than many think. Statistics around spam reveal that it makes for 45 percent of all sent emails, in which 36 percent of all spam is some form or advertising. Besides, the sheer number of spam emails sent out every day is astounding — about 14.5 billion. Email spams also cost businesses $20.5 billion every year by hampering productivity.
Spam doesn’t have a good reputation at all. With spam in your inbox, you might be vulnerable to some severe phishing, fake invoices, and other misleading tactics that could cost you money.
With so much spam around, you must get access to the best E-mail spam filter. SpamSieve, by far and large, is the best spam filter for the Mac.
But before we dive into our SpamSieve review, its features along with its user experience, let’s look at the built-in spam filtering option on Macs.
Built-in spam filtering on Mac
It’s evident that nobody likes spam, and if you use the Mail application on your Mac, then you have a handful of options to filter out spam.
The built-in spam filtering in Mail is enabled by default. You can access it in the Junk Mail setting under Preferences. Once you are there, make sure that you have checked the box labelled ‘Enable junk mail filtering’. You can add rules and exceptions to where these spam messages go after filtering as well.
However, in recent times, spam has gotten more powerful. They are harder to detect, and there’s always more of it — it takes more than just the default filters to get rid of that spam, and to save valuable time which you would otherwise spend sorting your inbox.
And this is where a good, trusted, time-tested and reliable spam filter for Mac like SpamSieve comes in.
What is SpamSieve?
SpamSieve lets you reclaim your inbox by bringing the much-powerful Bayesian spam filtering technique to filter out spam in your Inbox app. It’s quite easy to use from within your Mail app, and you can even customize it — define rules for it to interact with the messages that arrive in your inbox.
Once you install and setup SpamSieve, it learns what your spam looks like, and manages to block most of them. It takes a look at your address book to find out what the good and acceptable messages look like so that it doesn’t end up confusing the messages you want for spam.
While other spam filters tend to get worse with time as spammers learn to bend the rules, SpamSieve only gets better with time as it adapts its filtering process to your Mail’s inbox and learns with time.
If you are worried whether SpamSieve deletes the messages, the answer is no. It only moves the identified spam emails to a different folder of your email account to provide a much neater look to your inbox, and it’s capable of doing that without putting your useful emails in the folder designated for spam.
SpamSieve can work with any number of email accounts — whatever is supported by your email software, such as IMAP, Exchange, POP, Hotmail, and AOL. You also get the option to use SpamSieve with multiple email programs at the same time.
Overall, SpamSieve is your ultimate approach to having a cleaner inbox without any technical hassles.
What makes SpamSieve great?
SpamSieve comes with a set of handy features that makes sure that spam gets nowhere near your inbox. Here, we will look at some of the options that make spam filtering great — from integration to accuracy, and everything in between.
Handy integration options
One of the best features of SpamSieve, which makes it truly great is that it can be integrated with all kinds of mail programs, such as Apple Mail, Mailsmith, Airmail, Outlook, and others. You can also use it with web-based email filters such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and iCloud as well.
With plenty of integration options at hand, you can be assured that you get access to mail-filtering options across you different email clients.
Once you have installed SpamSieve, it begins filtering your messages immediately. However, if you just leave the app to perform by itself, the results might not turn out to be the best.
Even though it works just fine by default, it works even better when you provide more feedback to it. When you mark junk messages that end up in your inbox as spam and the other important messages that end up in your spam as good messages, then you’ll be able to make the most out of the SpamSieve app.
SpamSieve uses this feedback to make itself better at identifying as well as sorting these incoming emails so you won’t have to worry about losing those important messages to your email inbox again.
Sensitivity settings for scalable filtering
SpamSieve lets you have a more conservative or liberal approach to filter scam by letting you have a scale, which you can drag according to the level of aggression you want while filtering spam.
However, this setting is not a substitute for training SpamSieve, or even correcting or even correcting it when it makes mistakes. It is a powerful tool, and SpamSieve recommends that most users stick to the middle range of the scale.
Having an aggressive setting can help if you most of your emails come from people who are already a part of your address book, and is excellent for having a more personalized approach to filtering spam.
Background colours that denote spam level
Another great feature of SpamSieve is that it sets colors to spam messages to reflect how a spammy it things a message is. The color order for most to least spammy is blue, gray, purple, red, orange, and yellow. Good messages, however, are left uncolored. This helps you if you are scanning your spam folder for false positives as you only have to pay attention to the orange and yellow messages.
It lets you save much time while you are trying to get some value out of your spam folder. However, the messages that are caught by the server junk filter are not processed by the app, so there are no colors to them.
You can also disable this feature in the settings of the app.
Notifications only for important messages
Imagine you are working on an important task, and every few minutes or so, your email app keeps on pinging you with notifications of incoming mails. Quite annoying, isn’t it?
All email programs send you a notification whenever a new message arrives in your mailbox — some even send a notification if the new message is spam. If your email program isn’t as savvy and is unable to tell a good email from a bad one, then you can turn off the notifications of your email client and let SpamSieve take charge of notifying you only when there are good messages.
This way, you can make sure that annoying email notifications do not hamper your workflow and productivity.
A full-fledged help guide
SpamSieve has a nice user manual which shows up as soon as you launch the app after installation. It provides help on each aspect of the app and comes with detailed instructions around configuring and using this app.
Besides, the language of this user manual is not as technical, so even if you are not used to setting up apps on your Mac, you are going to have a relatively more comfortable time with SpamSieve.
And trust us, you might need this user manual more than you think, which also brings us to the next part of this article.
What could make SpamSieve better?
While SpamSieve does its job well, certain parts could be worked around to give the app an even better touch and make it more user-friendly. For some users, marking emails as good and bad can be a complicated affair — it also depends on your judgement skills, and it takes some time and energy to do that.
Besides, that’s not the only time investment that you need from the app. Just setting it up can be tedious and could need detailed instructions for people who are not used to playing around with apps and configuring them.
The app does come with an extensive help guide, so you can always refer to it in case you find yourself stuck in the configuration process.
Our final experience
With a size just a little over 15MB, SpamSieve was an easy download. Once downloaded and installed, the app opened with a help manual window.
The help manual of SpamSieve contains information on every aspect — from setting up to using the app, and we thought that it was quite exceptional as it’d prevent us from making rounds of the internet for tutorials on SpamSieve.
We tested SpamSieve on the Mail app on our Mac, and the app asked us to install the latest version of Apple Mail plugin. It provided us with simple and easy instructions to do the same, and once that was done, the app was ready to use.
The app was integrated to our Mail app and only ran with a stats window which highlighted filtered mail, the accuracy of SpamSieve, corpus (collection of messages — both spam and good — through which you have trained the app), blocklist rules, and the time since the app has been showing statistics. This was great as it helped us keep track of what the app has been up to.
Once the basics of installing the Apple Mail Plugin was done, SpamSieve ran well and managed to block most of the spam. From there, there were several emails such as newsletters that we didn’t want SpamSieve to categorize as spam, so we clicked on those emails, went over to the Mailbox menu, and choose the option to treat those emails as good messages. Similarly, we treated unwanted newsletters as bad.
The next thing we knew, over the day, SpamSieve made sure that the new incoming messages were treated as we wanted them to — as good and bad.
Yes, if you are wondering whether you have to spend too much time clicking around, there’s a shortcut to for the good and bad SpamSieve categorization as well. The shortcut to for spam categorization is Command-Control-S, whereas the shortcut for good categorization is Command-Control-G.
The spam emails were put in a new Spam folder, so it was easy for us to know which emails were worked upon by SpamSieve.
We could also add rules to the option to make sure that emails with certain keywords could be automatically filtered out. This can be done through the ‘Add Rule’ option in the filter menu. We thought that this feature gives a highly personalized approach to filtering spam.
Overall, we found out that SpamSieve was easy to use and worked effectively to clean out the inbox of all the spam emails that would otherwise come unhindered, bypassing the default spam filters of our Mail app.
Pricing and availability
You can try SpamSieve for free for 30 days to explore its features. It is also compatible with macOS 10.15 (Catalina). If you think that this is an app that you would like to invest in so that you can enjoy clean and distraction-free inbox, you can pay $30 for a full license.
If you want to buy SpamSieve for two users, then you can save $12 on your purchase by paying just $48.
Considering the productive hours you’d be gaining while using the app, we think that paying $30 for a full license so that you can remove spam emails on your Mac is not a bad idea.