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Mail rules in Lion not working

34620 Views 88 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2014 7:04 AM by Pippin51 RSS
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phaistonian Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jul 22, 2011 10:12 AM

Multiple issues here.


  • Rules are not applied - though I confirm they should.
  • Rules don't actually change.


Has the whole rules functionality wor for you?



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • simonparker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 23, 2011 7:26 AM (in response to phaistonian)

    Got the exact same problem. Rules apply to some messages and not others, was fine before update and nothings changed on rule settings. I can run 'apply rules now' and it's all fine, just sporadically doesn't apply them. Any advice appreciated

  • candacevanlion Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 25, 2011 1:47 AM (in response to phaistonian)

    I just realized that none of my (many) Mail rules are working since I upgraded to Lion. I tried fiddling with the rules, and it offered to apply them, but nothing happened. These all worked before the upgrade. This would appear to be an issue with the new version of Mail.




    iMac, Mac OS X (10.7)

  • nozza1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 26, 2011 11:25 AM (in response to simonparker)

    I appeared to be having the same problem, then I realised that messages marked as read by an IMAP server were not having rules applied, while new messages unread on the IMAP server are having rules applied. I don't remember this behaviour before, and only have IMAP accounts, so presume Mail in Lion is handeling IMAP accounts slightly differently.


    Hope that helps or leads to an explanation.

  • Thebestplacehere Level 3 Level 3 (700 points)
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    Jul 26, 2011 11:42 AM (in response to phaistonian)

    Just create a rule and it just works ...

  • nozza1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 26, 2011 1:54 PM (in response to phaistonian)

    Actually, that's not the full story: The IMAP accounts on my work user account don't seem to be handling rules in any dependable way, while the IMAP account on my personal account is working as it always has. Think I'll try deleting and recreating the rules. Begining to think the Lion mail migration process has upset the balance. Will let you know.

  • MarkDouma┬« Level 6 Level 6 (9,845 points)
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    Jul 27, 2011 2:07 PM (in response to phaistonian)

    After re-creating all of the 30 some rules I used in Snow Leopard in Mail in Lion, I discovered that many of them were not working properly.


    The rules that specified relatively simple criteria to match, such as specific strings to search for in the From, To, Subject fields, were working OK.


    The rules that weren't working properly were the ones for Apple Developer mailing lists, in which I look for a string value in the custom List-Id header. For example, if the List-Id of the email contains, move it to such-and-such a mailbox. I noticed after I added the custom header field to the list of rule headers (by using the Edit Header List… command), that List-Id was sometimes changed to just plain List. After quitting mail and looking at the saved version of Mail's rules (in the file /Users/<username>/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/MessageRules.plist), I found that Mail was saving the rules as List rather than the proper custom header of List-Id. As a result, the rules appeared not to work because, obviously, there was no List header value. After editing the MessageRules.plist manually with Property List Editor, and replacing List with List-Id, all of the rules started working properly.


    Just wondering what types of rules you guys had and whether it might be the same inability to save headers with a - in them.

  • tk2000 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 28, 2011 3:27 PM (in response to phaistonian)

    I am having an issue where if I create a rule and apply it works, however when Mail downloads new messages from IMAP accounts it does not apply the rule again.... any thoughts?

  • MileHiGuy66 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 29, 2011 5:20 PM (in response to phaistonian)

    Running Lion here, too.  For whatever reason, can't have multiple actions associated with Inbox Rules.  For example, (1) move to folder, (2) assign color, and (3) assign MailTags.  The rule will move email to the appropriate folder but will NOT assign color or MailTags.  Solutions?  Or is this a bug?

  • JamerUK Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Jul 29, 2011 5:47 PM (in response to MileHiGuy66)

    Similar issues here

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,905 points)
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    Jul 29, 2011 6:24 PM (in response to MileHiGuy66)

    Works fine for me. Have you installed the preview version of MailTags that supports Lion?

  • MileHiGuy66 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 29, 2011 6:54 PM (in response to etresoft)

    Yes, am running MailTags version 3.0b1386.  Just retested Inbox rule scenario (described above) 11 times. Results: color was never assigned...and mailtags were only assigned 2 of the 11 times.  Can't figure out pattern.

  • MacNewbie82 Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
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    Jul 30, 2011 9:33 AM (in response to MileHiGuy66)

    I can't get the rules to apply correctly either involving color-coding since updating to Lion.

  • MileHiGuy66 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 30, 2011 10:24 AM (in response to phaistonian)

    Ok.  Good news.  I think I figured out the problem and a workaround. After umpteen hours of testing, it appears the problem is isolated to IMAP email.  (I'm not using Gmail IMAP.)  The problem does NOT seem to occur with my MobileMe mail. 


    Here's the scoop: for whatever reason with IMAP mail, when a Move action is combined with others (highlighting background in color, adding mailtags, marking as read, etc.), the Move action is performed but the others are not always applied.  What's the solution/workaround?  The Move action needs to be placed in a separate rule. For example, Rule #1 can say set background color, add mailtag 'abc', add mailtag 'xyz', and mark as read.  Rule #2 can say Move to folder.  Rule #2 MUST occur after Rule #1 in your Preferences list.


    Alternatively, if you're using Indev Mail Act-On, you can define Rule #1 as I did but then add the following action LAST in the action list: Apply Act-on Rule "Move My Email to Folder ABC" ...whereas, "Move My Email to Folder ABC" would be an independent rule you have defined in Preferences > Rules > Act-On.


    If the solution above works for you, please make a note here so others know.  Thanks! 

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