Junk Mail Not Syncing on Android Exchange ActiveSync

Junk Email - No MessagesI was asked recently to look at an Android phone that was connected to Exchange via ActiveSync. It was working fine for regular email, but Junk mail was seemingly not coming through.

Doesn’t sound like too bad a problem to have, but if you have clients (or worse, prospective clients) end up in Junk mail from time to time, and you don’t know it, it can seem like you’re ignoring them. Not good!

Sync Settings on Junk Email

Turns out that Android’s email client sets your Junk Email folder up with different sync settings than the rest of your account. They set it to Manual, so that Junk Email is only checked when you go in there and sync it yourself.

Changing it is relatively easy. My instructions are based on a Galaxy S II from Sprint running Android 4.04, but should be generally applicable to other phones:

  1. Open the Email app and switch the account you want to change.
  2. Bring up your Folder List – on my phone it’s the Menu button, then Folder List.
  3. While viewing the Folder List, find the Junk Email folder, and long press it.
  4. This should bring up a context menu where you can choose Sync options.
  5. There, you’ll see the options for Peak and Off-peak schedules.

This is probably a great example of when you would want to set peak and off-peak differently. You can set each schedule to use the account default (so it will inherit the same settings as the rest of your account) or you can set them to something special.

Junk Email - Sync Schedules


  1. Gail M Gladstone · Broker/Owner at Gladstone Group

    I am the person to whom Brian is making reference.

    I happened to meet Brian while volunteering for a blood drive (Brian was the donor). I was agonizing over my inability to download my junk mail into my phone. Why would you care about junk mail?

    My incoming business happens to be 97% by email. Why does it go to junk? I don’t have these unknown prospects in my contacts. So my junk file is very valuable to me.

    I spent DAYS with tech support from AT&T (both on the phone and in their repair shops) and Samsung, to no avail. Changed my phone FIVE times!

    It took Brian less than 5 minutes to figure it out and fix it. Samsung asked me to let them know what the solution was (not giving away Brian’s thunder to a group who should have known from day 1).

    • Hi Gail! Thanks for commenting. I definitely appreciate the explanation as to why someone would care about junk mail on their phone. I think a lot of us (IT professionals) overlook things like that.

  2. Android SIII running ver 4.3. I am experiencing the same issues as a previous emailer in that incoming emails, both listed in my contacts and not listed, end up in a Junk folder…that I did not create.

    This is causing considerable consternation. AOL could not help after hours of discussion.

    Frustration levels are peaking.

    Sounds like you were a godsend to another user with similar issues.

    Any advice/help would be gratefully appreciated.

  3. Hi! I am also having problems with my galaxy not syncing junk mail. But it’s an s5 and the long press doesn’t do anything. Any idea how to get it syncing on an s5? Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa,

      As it happens, I have an S5 now too.

      The steps are a little bit different. When viewing the email, click the menu in the top left, but skip the folders and instead click Manage Accounts. Choose the account from the list, then scroll down to the More Settings button. Click that, then choose Folder Sync Settings, and in that screen click the folder you want to change.

      Let me know if that works.

      • Thanks for responding! I can find the more settings button but there is nothing saying folder sync settings. I can find “sync settings” but that appears to be just for the inbox. What am I missing?

  4. Thanks for responding! I can find the more settings button but there is nothing saying folder sync settings. I can find “sync settings” but that appears to be just for the inbox. What am I missing?

  5. Hi Brian,
    I have a Galaxy Note 2 and I’m trying to access my Junk email as well. When I follow your instructions above, my list of email folders does not include a Junk or Spam folder; Inbox, Outbox, Sent, Drafts & Trash. That’s it. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Erin,

      I just checked on a friend’s Note 2, and I do see “Junk E-Mail” on his. The first thing is to make sure that this is a Microsoft Exchange (ActiveSync) type of email account, as that is all that this article applies to.

      If it is, then you may want to check the folder sync settings:

      1. When viewing the mail, tap the Menu softkey
      2. Choose Settings
      3. Tap Account Settings for the account in question
      4. Again tap the account name
      5. Tap More Settings
      6. Tap Folder sync settings
      7. See if “Junk E-Mail” exists here. If so, tap it and then you can change its schedule.
  6. Hi Brian,
    Wow! You’re quick with this! Thanks so much for your help!
    I was with you up until the last step. I did not find a “Folder sync settings” option. Before I tapped “More settings,” there was a “Sync settings” which only allows me to adjust the general “Sync schedule” and “Size to retrieve emails.” Going into the “More settings” includes common settings such as; account name, Cc/Bcc myself options, security options, number of emails to load (data usage), and server settings for in- and out- settings.

    • Hi Erin,

      “Folder sync settings” should be under a heading that reads “Exchange ActiveSync settings” (after you tap “More Settings”). If you don’t see that heading, then I suspect that this is not an Exchange ActiveSync account type. If that is the case this option won’t be there, and I’m not sure how to see junk mail in that instance (it might depend on the email provider).

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