How to filter Outlook emails on all your devices

Mail rules filter incoming messages to keep your inbox clean — and one type called server-side rules can filter some emails no matter what email client or device you are using.

Email migration to Microsoft Outlook app on mobile email for smartphone user.
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I’m inundated with emails, so I use mail rules to maintain some semblance of order, coupled with a zero-inbox strategy. For example, automated reports are sent to a specific folder so I can read them later at my own leisure — and, most important, keep them out of my inbox.

Mail rules (a.k.a. filters) also help me override inappropriate junk classification of legitimate emails. For whatever reason, Office 365/Microsoft 365 insists on categorizing email from a couple specific people as junk, and my attempts to teach Office that they are not junk have borne no fruit.

I love and rely on mail rules. They filter emails to keep your inbox clean — and one type called server-side rules can filter some emails no matter what email client you are using.

While Microsoft’s Outlook apps for Windows and macOS support client-side mail rules (those that run on your device), the Outlook apps for Android and iOS don’t. And if you use Apple Mail with an Office 365/Microsoft 365/Exchange account, the same limitations apply: Mail for macOS supports client-side filtering, but Mail for iOS doesn’t.

But Office 365/Microsoft 365 and Exchange also support server-side mail rules. Server-side rules are applied at the back end, before the emails get sent to your email client, whether that client is on a desktop or mobile device and whether it’s from Microsoft, Apple, or some other provider.

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