Creating iCloud Email Aliases

You can create up to 3 extra email addresses in your iCloud account that you can use to mask your real email address. These extra addresses will direct email to your regular iCloud account, but the sender doesn't know what your real email address is. These are handy for creating one-time use accounts or using a different email address for certain types of services like online games, shopping or newsletters.

Video Transcript
If you use iCloud.com as your email service, or even if you don't use it as your primary email service, you have it from Apple. It's free. You can setup aliases. Extra email addresses that you can use for a variety of purposes. Let's take a look at how to do this and why you might want to.

So, in order to set it up you want to go to iCloud.com in the browser. Go to iCloud.com and you log on with your iCloud credentials, your ID and password. Once you're in there you go to Mail. This, of course, is the web based version of Mail and you can go and read your email here. Respond to email. It's useful especially if you have to access your email not on your own computer.

But you can also go down here to Preferences and go to Accounts. Notice you'll have information about your email address here. You have the label that is used. This is my iCloud email account. The name that's associated with this account. So you can change that to something more professional or less professional. Whatever you want. And the email address. In this case it's a demo account I use for these tutorials.

You also have Add an alias. You can see at the bottom here it says you have zero of 3 aliases. So you can choose three aliases to use. So I'm going to add one. Now this is an email that's going to be something@iCloud.com. So let me go and say garyr0001@iCloud.com. I'll stick with my name here. I can use a label. Something like, say, Shopping is a good one. So I'll use this for online shopping accounts or some account I'm setting up at a store I've never shopped at before. I'll hit Okay. It's says it's created and you can see I've got it there.

I can switch between them here and I can see this email address here. Now notice I also have the ability to disable the alias. So right now any email sent to this email address will actually end up in my inbox just like an email sent to my main email address. It's an alias. It's not a new email address. It's not a separate account. It's just someone can send something to you using that email address and it ends up in your regular email address.

So I can disable it. If I disable it what happens is if somebody tries to send me something there it will bounce. Just like the email address doesn't exist. So anytime I want I can disable these. I can also delete them. From that point on any email sent there will bounce. So say if I'm asked to signup for something. Just a one time thing. I want to have a throwaway email address. I can create an alias here. I can use it that one time and then maybe get back whatever I'm getting back. Because I don't trust the source maybe and I don't want to give them my real email address now I can go in and delete and get rid of that. Anything they try to send to that email address will no longer arrive there.

So I'll hit Done and now when somebody sends me something I'll get it here and I'll get it, of course, in the real mail app here on my Mac. So here's like the real Mail app. Now let's see what happens when somebody sends me an email to that alias. You can see it arrived here just like if I had gotten it sent to my regular address. But, I can notice here under To: it is to that special email address. I can easily identify these.

So it's handy say if you signed up on an online shopping site and then suddenly you get some email from some sites you never heard of but they're using that special alias you setup. Ah, you know where they got that from. They got it from that shopping site.

Now you can only have three of these at a time. So it's not like you can set a different email address for every single site you signup for. But it is handy when you need it for a special thing or maybe just kind of keeping things like maybe emailed newsletters or, you know, gaming accounts or something like that as a separate email address from your primary email address.

Comments: 21 Responses to “Creating iCloud Email Aliases”

    Bob
    9/6/18 @ 11:09 am

    Hi Gary,
    What happens if I choose an
    already in use alias or someone’s
    actual icloud address?
    Will icloud inform me?
    Bob

    9/6/18 @ 11:10 am

    Bob: Yes. It will show you a message and not allow you to use that one.

    Bruce
    9/6/18 @ 11:54 am

    I had no idea this was available. It’s great. I use Blur to create throw-away email addresses and it works well for truly one-time, never-again addresses. But there is one big problem with Blur: Many sites reject Blur addresses (which generally end in opayq.com) because they know it masks the real address. The iCloud alias trick solves the problem. Thank you!

    Bob
    9/6/18 @ 12:55 pm

    Thanks Gary.
    I thought so.

    Jim S.
    9/6/18 @ 3:39 pm

    If I want to reply to the email that I received from using the alias does my email response get sent out using the alias name or my actual iCloud account?
    Thanks Gary for everything.

    9/6/18 @ 3:49 pm

    Jim: It should be sent out using your actual email account, since the alias isn’t a real account. But you can probably play around with the settings in the Mail app and have it go either way. Remember that “from” and “reply-to” are two different things when it comes to email. So check your setting and when in doubt, just do a quick test.

    Alan Oliver
    9/6/18 @ 7:05 pm

    Have tried repeatedly to create alias but continually receive message that alias cannot be saved at this time and to try again later. After numerous attempts I have given up.

    Ron
    9/6/18 @ 7:05 pm

    Can I setup an alias on an iOS device or is it only on a macOS? Thanks!

    9/6/18 @ 8:05 pm

    Ron: It is difficult to do on an iOS device because you need to go to iCloud.com and for whatever reason Apple doesn’t let you do that on iOS.

    Ken
    9/7/18 @ 2:45 am

    Useful reminder Gary. Because of the three alias limit for shopping I always add the name of the company after my username with a plus sign. This works for most accounts.

    Mike
    9/7/18 @ 3:48 am

    Hi Gary, Is it possible to temporarily delete an alias and then recover it later. Also, is it possible to create dozens of alias e-mails as long as there are only 3 at any one time. Thanks – Mike

    9/7/18 @ 7:48 am

    Mike: You should be able to delete it and then use it later, but if someone else takes it during that time you are out of luck. Also, there may be a time period right after you delete it where it is still thought of as “in use” and so you may not be able to go back to it. Why not try it? Experiment with some long random alias and see. Right, you should be able to create as many as you want, but only 3 at a time.

    9/7/18 @ 7:51 am

    Ken: Interesting! I knew about the + hack for Gmail accounts, but I had assumed it was a Gmail thing. I see now that it works for iCloud accounts too.

    Jim
    9/7/18 @ 5:37 pm

    Gary Is there any way once I create an alias, I can convert it to a regular email address?

    9/7/18 @ 6:20 pm

    Jim: I can’t think of any way, no.

    Judy
    9/8/18 @ 7:12 am

    Such great information. This is very helpful. I have learned so much from you.
    Thank you!!

    Gavin
    9/12/18 @ 3:04 pm

    Hi Gary please could you maybe do a follow up on this subject relating to creating signatures for your alias email addresses. I use an alias email address which has its own signature – but every time I use my true email address Mac mail puts my alias signature on the bottom! I’ve tried and tried to cure it … but I’m stumped!

    9/12/18 @ 4:02 pm

    Gavin: Did you check your Mail preferences to make sure you had it set up correctly? Also, what do you mean by “use an alias” — since an alias is just another way to receive email (not send, really) then what are you doing that is different when you “send” from the alias instead of the main email address?

    Chris
    9/13/18 @ 12:56 pm

    Identifying a culprit is nice, but far more valuable would be separate inboxes – for separate needs.

    S. Tobias
    11/9/18 @ 3:14 pm

    Specific question. Have old “Self@me.com” which seemed to come over with “Self@icloud.com” as a combo (tho’ only use @me).
    — Want a specific “alias@icloud.com” and my question breaks this way. For the 3 allowed addresses: Does the @me and iCloud count as one address? And if I wanted to keep the new alias (and disable it, rather than delete it) can i have another alias? maybe even toggle between? Thanks

    11/9/18 @ 3:17 pm

    Tobias: self@me.com and self@icloud.com is just your email address. It is not an alias. So it shouldn’t count toward your number of aliases.

Comments Closed.