When an email comes into a Gmail account, in what order does spam filtering, filter rules, and email forwarding happen, and how do they affect one another?

E.g. will emails be forwarded (by email forwarding or by a forwarding filter rule) or not if they are classed as spam?

Can filter rules affect what non-filter-rule email forwarding forwards, e.g. by removing the email, or by marking stuff not-as-spam (if spam would otherwise not be forwarded)?


1 Answer 1


Some findings about spam

With no filters and "Forward a copy of incoming mail to … and delete …'s copy" set, some email still ends up in Spam on the incoming mail account, and those emails also reach the forwarded-to account.

From which I conclude that:

  • The "Forward a copy" setting applies before spam protection (emails are forwarded even if spam)
  • "delete …'s copy" does not actually delete them if they're spam – they end up in the spam folder instead

Some findings about forwarding in filters

If I set up a filter to forward certain emails to [email protected], and also have non-filter-based forwarding to [email protected], the email is forwarded to both [email protected] and [email protected].

This happens even if I set the filter to also archive the mail, or to also delete the mail.

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