A Little Mail Trick

OK, so I’m probably the last guy on the planet to figure this out.

I’ve been struggling with a couple of mail-related issues with my iPhone. I had been connecting to the same mail account with my iPhone as I have with my home machine. Every now and then, the two mail clients would collide at the mail server, and make one or the other not very happy. Nothing fatal, but nothing wonderful either.

However, the bigger thing was that I was getting spammed to death on my iPhone. The OS X mail app does a pretty good job (augmented with a few rules of my own) at keeping the spam at bay, but the mail app on the iPhone lacks the anti-spam technology that my home mail client enjoys. For a long while, I was getting almost no spam on my iPhone, but there was a cost — I was blocking LOADS of country-specific domains and IP address ranges that I would never expect to get e-mail from. However, I recently ran into an issue with a developer whose mail was getting /dev/nulled at my mail server due to the broad nature of my spam swatting. Once I turned that off, my poor little iPhone was exposed to hundreds of available Russian singles, pharmaceuticals that I didn’t even know existed, and information from so many banks that I didn’t know I was affiliated with. In a word, spam.

So how to fix it? Well, fixing it at the mail server would be the best answer, but as I started getting into that, I started discovering just how little I understood about mail transport mechanisms, and how much I really didn’t care to learn that much about them. With that off the table, that left doing something at my home-based mail client that would somehow filter my mail before it hit the iPhone. There’s lots of folks out there doing circuitous sending and resending between their mail server, Google’s GMail, and then back to their home mail servers. That also had a bit of a learning curve, especially when doing it from the mail server.

My last idea was to let OS X’s mail app filter the mail, and after it’d passed the gauntlet of simple rules at the server, and complex rules at the client, it could be forwarded to a super-secret special mail account for the iPhone to hit to get a less spam-filled mail flow. That worked…. except that every e-mail looked as though it came from me, which was a less than stellar solution, especially if I wanted to respond to mail from my iPhone.

I was playing with my mail rules again, trying to set up some methods to figure out which of them were working the best, and I saw a little drop down on my rule to forward stuff to the iPhone’s mail account. In addition to forward there was a “redirect message” option that would send the message along to the iPhone’s account while preserving the look and feel of the message, making it seem like it was sent directly to my iPhone. Wunderbar!

And a side benefit of this approach is that my iPhone and OS X mail app are each banging away at different mail accounts, so there’s no collisions at the mail server for either one. I like my technogoodies to have a smile on their little electronic faces!