Take Control Of Your Email With iCloud Plus Addressing

iCloud email allows you to freely add some text to your regular email address to create unqiue addresses that you can use on an as-needed basis. So you can use a slightly different email address when you sign up for a service and easily identify if that service is sending you spam or seling your information. You can also use this to organize legitimate email by filtering into groups that use the same address. However, there are some downsides too.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Take Control Of Your Email With iCloud Plus Addressing”

    Larry Jordan
    4 months ago

    I like this and plan to use it. Hopefully it doesn’t get too confusing.

    Jeff Knouse
    4 months ago

    My apple email address is @me.com. Will the me.com address work the same as @icloud.com with the plus (+) addressing?

    4 months ago

    Jeff: Yes. Easy to test it out and see.

    Jerry King
    4 months ago

    great tip, as always, Gary

    I tried to use the + feature in a send mail situation but couldn’t seem to modify the From field

    So this is for when a site is asking for your email?

    Jerry

    4 months ago

    Jerry: Exactly.

    jerry king
    4 months ago

    It seems to me that I could go to a website that I had previously given an email address and modify the stored information For example AAA has my email address in its database
    Couldn’t I edit my member profile to change the address to a +AAA extension?
    A project for a slow day

    ‘would these + extensions slow down the data harvesting from database hackers?

    Doubt it but would the + extension affect login when the site uses the email address as the user identity?

    Jerry

    4 months ago

    Jerry: They may slow down data harvesting as your email address would be different at different sites, so it would be hard for them to cross-reference. But it would be easy for the database owners to recognize that + addresses are the same. Not sure if they do or do not right now. As for logging in, yes, the exact email address, with the +AAA would be your ID for the site if that is what you use.

    Martin
    4 months ago

    Thanks for the “+” tip, Gary. My question: Since this technique is so widely used, isn’t it easy for the bad guys to discern your “real” email address? Seems to me it wouldn’t even require human intervention: a bot used to harvest email addresses for spam (or worse) could be programed to just eliminate the plus sign and all characters following it and then they’d have your core address – no? Thank you again.

    4 months ago

    Martin: Do you mean spammers? Maybe. But maybe you’re giving them too much credit. I don’t think they really look inside the lists of millions of email addresses they use to spam.

    Anita B.
    4 months ago

    I find that an easy easy way, for me, with few downsides, is to generate a new email address for each of the entities on which I wish to surveil.

    Jasper Robinson
    4 months ago

    Martin sets up martin+duffbeer@icloud.com. The notional bad guy at DuffBeer wants to sell her customers’ personal details but will be busted if Martin’s email is unique—it can only come from DuffBeer. So she runs her ‘dirty’ email list through BBedit finding the added bit [\+[a-z, 0-9]*@] and replacing with just ‘@’. This ‘cleans’ the list (Martin is now martin@icloud.com). Then she can safely sell it on and Martin would never know (I’m a good guy who gets a lot of spam, btw!)

    4 months ago

    Jasper: Sure, but: 1) If you just don’t use the + address, then they get your email address anyway. And 2) I doubt that spammers put any effort into it like that. They make money by sending to millions of email addresses and hoping that .001% respond.

    Edward Ryder
    4 months ago

    Gary, could you give a very simple example on how to setup the plus email. Do I set it up on my computer? Do I need to modify the site that I am sending email to?
    Thank you

    4 months ago

    Edward: You don’t set anything up. You just use it. If your email is example@icloud.com and you sign up for a service somewhere you want to track, sign up with the email address example+something@icloud.com. Andy email sent to example+something@icloud.com just goes to your regular inbox like it was sent to example@icloud.com but the “to” field will remain example+something@icloud.com in the email so you can do the things I mention in the video.

    Pete Freeman
    4 months ago

    icloud won’t allow me to use the + sign. could only use the period ( .) will that work?
    Thanks.

    4 months ago

    Pete: The period is very different. But what do you mean by “iCloud won’t allow?” It isn’t up to iCloud to “allow” you to do anything here. You aren’t entering in your email address in anything IN iCloud. The whole idea is you are entering it somewhere like a website that is asking you for your email address to sign up or send you something.

    Chris
    3 months ago

    Isn’t Catalina supposed to offer a temporary email address feature?

    3 months ago

    Chris: I’m not heard that. That would be a function of your email provider, anyway.

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