Using Filter Rules in Apple Mail or iCloud Mail

If you're an Apple user wanting a tidy inbox at all times, Apple Mail rules (or iCloud Mail) allow you to categorize and prioritize emails with minimal effort. Discover how this nifty feature can help you save time keeping your mailbox organized—and how Clean Email can make it even tidier.

How to Create Rules in Apple Mail

If you are constantly bombarded with emails, you can stay on top of your inbox by creating rules in Apple Mail. These rules will automatically sort messages into different folders.

For instance, you can mark emails as spam or as read in Apple Mail.

This way, you can quickly navigate through your inbox and find the emails that matter without having to sift through the clutter and search Apple Mail.

Setting Up Rules on MacOS (Desktop)

Here's how to set up Mac Mail rules:

  1. Open Apple Mail and go to the Mail menu at the top of your screen.
  2. Select Settings... from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the window that appears, click on the Rules tab.
  4. Click on the Add Rule button at the right pane. A pop-up window will appear where you can name your rule in the Description field.
  5. Specify the conditions for your rule by selecting options from the drop-down menus under If any of the following conditions are met: or If all of the following conditions are met:
  6. Once you have specified the conditions, choose the desired action for your rule under Perform the following actions:
  7. You can add more conditions and actions by clicking the + button next to each field.
  8. Click on the OK button to save your rule.

Creating Apple Mail Rules on iOS (Mobile)

You can set up rules in Apple Mail on iPhone, but it can be limited. For instance, you can't filter by sender, keywords, or subject.

Luckily, you can be creative with your rules and filters using Clean Email (for iOS and Android).

Clean Email is an email management tool that allows you to easily filter, organize, and clean up your inbox with just a few clicks.

With the app's customizable features, you can easily create rules to categorize and prioritize your emails—the entire process is automated.

Auto Clean feature in Clean Email mobile appAuto Clean feature in Clean Email mobile app

You can also pause and restart the rules as you see fit.

Filter All Emails Automatically with Clean Email

While rules in Apple Mail help organize emails, it can still be a tedious task to create and manage them.

The Clean Email app works seamlessly with popular email providers like iCloud, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, and more.

You can set up regular automatic cleanups to keep your inbox clutter-free. Its features enable you to create automated rules for existing and incoming messages.


In Clean Email, you can create rules for each sender.

Pick a folder where you want this sender's messages to go (for instance, "client" or "marketing team"). Decide if you want their messages to go to Trash after a certain period automatically.

You can also let Clean Email star this sender's future messages if you expect urgent or high-priority items from them.


The Auto Clean feature lets you set automations for managing incoming emails.

Auto Clean feature with Clean EmailAuto Clean feature with Clean Email

Want all marketing messages to go straight to the trash? What about that newsletter you subscribed to a year ago and haven't had the chance to read?

You can use Auto Clean to direct these messages to a certain folder.

For instance, you can create rules for Clean Email to direct industry newsletters to the Read Later folder automatically. Or promotional messages you received from a certain brand 2-3 years ago straight to Trash.

You can also build automation to star or flag responses to your messages, allowing you to prioritize replies from important senders.

Smart Folders

The app's Smart Folders feature uses 33 pre-set filters to categorize your emails by the similarities they share.

Smart Folders feature with Clean EmailSmart Folders feature with Clean Email

Create rules by selecting email groups within these folders, and set them to be automatically sent to any designated folder upon their arrival in the future. This way, there's no need to organize your messages individually and manually.

Let Clean Email find important emails from specific categories or eliminate unwanted bulk messages for you.

Cleaning Suggestions

Cleaning Suggestions tool manages items in your main inbox based on your past actions (and data from how others have dealt with similar emails). You can use this feature to create rules by going to the Suggestions tab and specifying the actions you want it to take automatically.

For instance, the app can auto-delete messages from a specific sender that hasn't been opened within a certain number of days.

How to Create Rules in iCloud Mail

iCloud Mail rules provide the same functions and features as Apple Mail. You can create rules to manage your inbox and keep it organized.

How to Apply Rules for iCloud Mail on Desktop

To set up Mac Mail rules in iCloud Mail, follow these steps:

  1. Open iCloud Mail and click on Settings (blue gear icon) at the left-hand pane of your screen.
  2. Select Rules from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click on Add New Rule.
  4. In the pop-up window, give your rule a name and specify the conditions for your rule. Select from the options for the Message and Action using the drop-down menus.
  5. Choose a folder by selecting it from the pop-up window. You can also create a new folder in iCloud Mail first if the folders you want don't exist yet.
  6. Click Add.

Can I Create iCloud Mail Rules on iOS Devices?

No, you cannot create iCloud email rules using the mobile app.

However, if you want to create them in Apple Mail using your mobile device (or if Mac Mail rules are not working on your iPhone), you can filter your email with the Clean Email app.

A Few Common Rules to Organize Emails

Here are a few best practices that can help you manage your emails and keep your inbox organized:

  • Move emails from specific senders to designated folders (i.e., newsletters, promotions, work-related messages) to declutter your primary inbox.
  • Automatically delete or archive old and irrelevant emails.
  • Flag urgent or important emails for quick reference.
  • Categorize emails based on keywords in the subject line or message content.
  • Direct emails with attachments to specific folders for easy access.
  • Apply a certain action (i.e., mark as read, flag, delete) to emails from certain domains or addresses.
  • Automatically forward emails to another account for backup or delegation purposes.
  • Use colors and highlight messages from important senders so they stand out in your inbox. You can also add a flag.
  • Highlight messages containing your name or certain keywords to ensure you can see them. You can set up a rule to specify these and choose a color to highlight.


Creating rules in Apple Mail and iCloud Mail can help you streamline your inbox and save time sorting through emails. Say goodbye to manually searching through and missing important emails in the chaos of your inbox!

However, managing rules can take time and effort. If you're on the go, setting them up using your iPhone or iPad can be limiting.

Clean Email helps you set up rules for both web and mobile devices. This mobile app is easy to use, and all features work on any device, including rule creation. And with its customizable features, you can easily create an organized and clutter-free email experience.

Try Clean Email today and discover how to create and customize rules to suit your unique preferences!

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