Removing old email addresses from iPhone mail



Have you ever had the problem in the mail app on the iPhone that when you start to type a person’s name all their past (obsolete) email addresses come up! Even after you have deleted someone from  your  ‘Contacts’ they can appear in the ‘To’ field of Mail app when you are writing a new email.  This is because the mail app remembers  the email address of anyone that you have sent an email to . This is very handy if you have someone  that you want to send an email to who is not in your contacts.  But it can get annoying when someone’s old disused email address keeps appearing instead of the new one.

I have already written about how to solve this  problem on the desktop version of mail app in OS X  here.

How do you solve the problem on the iPhone though?  Here’s how.

When you create a ‘New Message’ on the iPhone and start typing in the ‘To:’ field, a list of email addresses appear.

Some of these are coming from your ‘Contacts’ app and some of them are coming from the ‘Mail’ app itself. The way to tell where they are coming from is to see if they have a little blue ‘ i’  next to them.

The little blue 'i' to the right of an email address indicates that it is not in your contacts list, it has been remembered from previous email.
The little blue ‘i’ to the right of an email address indicates that it is not in your contacts list, it has been remembered from a previous email.


If they come from your ‘contacts’ list they do not have a little blue ‘i’  next to them. If they come from ‘Mail’ app  then they have a little ‘i’ next to them.

So, if someone does not have the little ‘i’ to them,  to get rid of them you  need to go into the ‘contacts’ app and search for their email address. Then select ‘edit’ for that that contact and delete their email address. It will no longer appear in the ‘To:’ field when you are typing a new email.

If they do have a little e’i’ then it’s easy to get rid of them! To get rid of someone’s email address that is not in your ‘contacts’  you simply need to press the little blue ‘i’ and then press ‘remove from Recents’


Simply click 'Remove from Recents' and their email address will stop appearing in future emails.

Simply click ‘Remove from Recents’ and their email address will stop appearing in future emails.



‘Remove From Recents’ is the equivalent of ‘Remove previous recipient’ on OSX. It will remove their email address from mail’s memory so that their email address is not suggested again. (Unless you send or receive another email to or from them – then you’ll have to remove them again.)


7 responses to “Removing old email addresses from iPhone mail”

  1. Ann Nelson

    I do not have the option of “Remove from Recents” on my iPad. Is there another way to delete the old email address?

  2. Patti

    I need to delete an old email address. Can you help me?

  3. Alex

    My issue is that I’ve done that and the unwanted email address is still showing. I have backed my phone up and even switched to a new phone since the removal of the email address in the recent list. Could that be why it has returned to recent contact list??

    1. Brian Schneider

      I have had the same issue as Alex for years.

      1. Me Too

        Where do those damn things reside b/c they’re not in my contact/address book. they don’t show up in the recents list at all, but they keep showing up in email addresses in the to: window (and I’m talking about apple mail in this instance. I saw the other post and it does not work).

        HOW the frack does one get rid of these miscreants?

  4. Jan Mac

    Same as Ann and MeToo! I don’t have any of the options that are supposed to come up :( What next? I have just updated software on my iPad.

  5. Steve

    I can’t get rid of all the old email addresses or edit them out on my laptop. So why would I ever be able to get rid of them on my iPhone. Apple certainly doesn’t make this easy. Apple has got to clear this up. It’s driving everybody crazy! And causing a lot of missed important emails when the old undeleted address gets mistakenly used!

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