How to take control of GDPR emails in Mail

Image c/o ConvertGDPR

Has your in-box become a pool of mailing lists, shops, services and brands begging you to agree to continue to receive email from them under Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation? I find these messages are making it hard to keep an eye on my regular email, so I thought this short report might help.

I like GDPR

There’s nothing wrong with GDPR.

I very much like it that Europe is brave enough to do what my second-rate UK government won’t do, which is give me a little power to protect my privacy.

There’s also nothing wrong with all these firms begging me to keep accepting messages from them – they want me to say yes, so they can confirm my details and then convince me to let them sell my details to someone else. With that in mind, I am being quite ruthless in using GDPR as an opportunity to unsubscribe from many of these.

How to control GDPR emails

Thing is, all these messages are time-consuming, so this is what I’m doing to control the deluge of GDPR mail. I’ve noticed that most GDPR-related messages say GDPR in the subject line, so I’ve created a Smart Mailbox to gather all these messages up.

  • Open Mail
  • In the menu, open Mailbox>New Smart Mailbox…
  • In the dialog that appears, name the Smart Mailbox ‘GDPR’
  • Then set Contains messages that match to all
  • And in the drop down menu choose “Subject” “Contains” and write “GDPR” in the text box.
  • Now click OK

You should see most of your GDPR messages appear inside the new mailbox.

(This isn’t foolproof — messages that don’t put GDPR in the subject line won’t be picked up — try adding a second set of criteria [tap the plus button] using the phrase ‘privacy policy’ and change Contains messages that match to any).

However, for the most part you can now ignore all the incoming GDPR-related emails until you have time to work through all the messages saved in the box.

How to put GDPR in quarantine

That’s a neat trick – but the problem is that Mail’s smart mailboxes don’t automatically proliferate across all your other devices.

The workaround is to create a new Rule on iCloud online. This will remove the messages from your primary in-box and quarantine them inside a new folder tucked away inside your iCloud mailbox. Here’s how it’s done.

Go to www.icloud.com and login with your Apple ID

  • Open Mail on iCloud and tap the small gears icon at the bottom left of the page
  • Select Rules
  • In the first criteria select: Has subject containing GDPR
  • In the second criteria choose: Move to folder
  • You can either choose an existing folder or create a brand-new folder (call it GDPR) by scrolling to the bottom of the next window.

Wait around 15-minutes for the new rules to take effect.

You will then find the new GDPR folder available inside the iCloud mailbox across all the Macs and iOS devices you use with this account. Older GDPR emails won’t be caught by this rule, but you’ll now be able to control when and where to receive and act on incoming GDPR mail. (You can find out more on using Rules here).

I do hope this helps!

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

2 Responses

  1. Gerald Wagner says:

    What is “GDPR”? It’s sad that everyone is getting to lazy to type anymore. It needs to be explained at least once!

    • Jonny Evans says:

      I agree, so I updated the copy. I don’t think you’ll win if you call me ‘lazy’, however. Though in this instance I admit to being a little careless.

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