What Happened to Apple Mail's 'Bounce Message' Feature?

Apple recommends junk mail filtering instead

Older versions of Mail, Apple's email app, had a feature called Bounce to Sender, which allowed users to send an unwanted message back to its originator. The idea was that if you rejected the message, the sender would stop sending email messages to your address.

Apple removed this feature in Apple Mail version 5 and later. Here's a look at why the feature was removed and how Apple now recommends users handle spam and other unwanted emails.

While you can't bounce a message back to a sender in Apple Mail, you can block a sender and no longer receive emails from that specific person or group.

Why the 'Bounce to Sender' Feature Was Removed

As time and technology progressed, Apple realized that this feature might be doing more harm than good. These bounced messages confirmed to the spammer that the email address was valid and their messages were received.

Furthermore, if the spammer used spoofed email addresses, the bounce message would head back only to a forged address.

In Apple Mail versions 4 and earlier, bouncing a message was a simple process. You'd highlight the message in the mailbox view, and select Message > Bounce to Sender.

Apple's Recommendations for Dealing With Spam

Instead of bouncing messages back to a sender, Apple Mail has several tools for dealing with unwanted emails.

Use the Built-In Junk Mail Feature

The Apple Mail built-in junk mail filter has a keen eye for spam, highlighting suspected messages that you can confirm as junk or mark as safe. This process teaches Apple Mail how to better filter your email.

If Apple Mail misses a junk mail message, mark the message as junk by right-clicking the email and selecting Mark as Junk, or by selecting the Junk button on the toolbar (represented by a thumb).

If you don't see the Junk icon (a thumbs up or down) on your toolbar, choose Mail > Preferences > Junk Mail and select Enable junk mail filtering.

Set Up Apple Mail Rules

Rules in Apple Mail help you organize and automate your email system, allowing you to direct email to certain folders.

Set up rules to help determine what is junk or unwanted mail, and have it sent to the Trash folder or another folder you designate.

Fine-tune the effectiveness of the rule by adding multiple conditions, such as sender, contents, subject matter, and more.

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