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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How to keep spam from clogging up your iPhone email

How to keep spam from clogging up your iPhone email

Image source: http://cdn.iphonehacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/04_new_contact_created.jpg

I have many email accounts so the amount of spam that I get is multiplied by the number of accounts that I have. I can't say that solving the spam issue in Outlook was a no-brainer; it basically took me a couple of years of trying different things before I settled on Cloudmark. If you have wrestled with spam in your inbox, I highly recommend checking out Cloudmark (Google it).

But I digress, this isn't about Outlook. After this concerted effort to eliminate as much spam as possible from my inbox, I decided that it was finally time to start using a smartphone for email. My choices were Palm phones, Blackberrys, Windows based phones, Nokia and of course the iPhone. I fell in love with the iPhone immediately. I've been using palm for years but not for email. Blackberry was the best alternate choice and with respect to email only, might have been a better choice.

A year ago, I had just set up a website for my client. Along with that she, of course, also established an email account. Her contact email was published on the website (against my recommendation) and within a couple of months the email bots had discovered her email and she was now a spam target. We took care of most of the issues by setting up filters in Outlook which can be a painful process. But then she got a blackberry and all that work to eliminate spam could not be duplicated on the Blackberry. Well, I did what I always do when I can't solve a problem. I Googled it: "reduce blackberry spam". We found a program that you can add to your blackberry that provided pretty decent spam filtering and my client is a happy camper.

The solution was not that easy for me and my iPhone. Frankly, I did not think to ask the store associate how iPhone handles spam. I was too impressed with "Need for Speed". I've never seen a phone run a game like that. iPhone is truly a handheld video game contender but again I digress. I happily ante'd up $299 for the 16 gig version (which I've since discovered I don't need, but - you know). I also increased my already unlimited account by another $35 for internet access. I cancelled my gym membership to pay for the increased cost of my iPhone and justified that by saying to myself that I would get in shape the old-fashioned way. I'd run, bike and exercise my way to thin-dom - outdoors! Don't ask how that's going...but I LOVE my iPhone.

And then it hit me. Because I'd already resolved the spam issue in Outlook, it never occurred to me how much spam I actually get. I was literally swamped. I was getting 100 Plus emails a day and 80% of that was spam. It was so bad frankly that it rendered the email on the iPhone not usable. A quick trip to the iPhone Apps store (via the Apps icon on the iphone) reveals no software that you can put on your iPhone to solve this problem. My trusty Google search yielded the same results. Apparantly nobody but me has a spam issue on their iPhone.

Again though, Google came to the rescue. This time, in a different way. I have had a gmail account for some time. Gmail allows you to route other email through its account. I didn't use that feature too much, but I did have one account doing this. It donned on me that I never see spam in that account when I check it. Gmail was filtering the spam! So, I started passing all of my POP3 email accounts through gmail. I then read my gmail account using my iphone, Voila'! no spam. The way I have this set up is simple. I use the IMAP settings for the iphone and POP3 settings for Outlook. When my iphone reads the emails, it leaves the emails on the servers (by default). When my outlook gets the emails from gmail, it deletes them from the server. I rarely see spam. That problem is solved.

"Any issues?", you ask. The only annoyance I have is that now that outlook is getting my emails forwarded from gmail, if I reply, my client gets an email from my gmail account instead of my business email. It's supposed to use a default address that I set up but it doesn't seem to be working correctly. I had to set up my business email account back up in Outlook and default to that. When I reply, I have to switch accounts before I send to make sure the client is seeing emails from my real business account...not gmail. It seems that there is an achilles heel in all good solutions but this one I can live with.

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