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How Do I Get Rid Of Old Email Addresses Held By Apple Mail?

I find Mail holds email addresses, even incorrect ones, someplace that I cannot locate. These are not addresses in my Contacts. And, when I edit a Contact page and delete the old email, it still appears, maybe as the top (preferred) address for that person. If I forget to check EVERY TIME, I may send to the wrong email.

How to I clear the addresses in Mail so it ONLY uses the emails in my Contacts. How do I clear the old email addresses that Mail holds?


Greg Roberts

Comments: 7 Responses to “How Do I Get Rid Of Old Email Addresses Held By Apple Mail?”

    4 years ago

    In the Mail app, go to the Window menu and choose Previous Recipients. Look for these bad email addresses there.

    Greg Roberts
    4 years ago

    Thanks Gary, you are a wizard. That works, but a long list to review – and a little bit of a privacy risk that these emails are kept (and presumable sent for sale). Very well hidden!

    It is not intuitive to look in “Windows” menu for contacts. Feel more like Microsoft who just adds features just anywhere. Apple used to be better

    Joel Anderson
    4 years ago

    Greg, you might feel differently if you knew that those addresses aren’t “sent” anywhere, but are stored locally, for your convenience. The purpose is to make it unnecessary for you to use the contacts list to store every email address that you might possibly use more than once. It comes in handy for me, at least, to have the computer remember someone’s address that I used the first time yesterday, need to use again today, but probably will never use again.

    4 years ago

    I feel Greg’s frustration. I created a contact group for a class I teach. One student gave me his email address incorrectly. I corrected it after the first week, but would still fall for being prompted to select the saved name. Because the incorrect address was buried in the list of others, I’d miss it and end up having to send a separate email to that one student when the first one got kicked back as undeliverable. Doing Gary’s fix now.

    Fred Steadman
    4 years ago

    What is really inconvenient is when someone sends me a new e-mail address, I put the new one into my address book and delete the old one, only to have e-mail insist on using the old, deleted one. Compounding the error is that the fix is neither intuitive nor easily found in searching help. There are a couple of obvious, easy fixes for this from Apple’s end but they haven’t bothered. The bug (yes it is a bug) has been there for years.

    4 years ago

    Fred: Odd. If I have the same name in both Contacts and Previous Recipients, and I start typing the name in the “To” field in a new email, I see both addresses appear, but the Contacts one is first. So it automatically selects that first one unless I manually select the second and there is no problem. Do you have the name filled out in the Contacts entry?

    3 years ago

    IT. WORKED…. thank goodness….long overdue cleaning. wow!!! thanks all

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