Aug 28

Over the past couple of months our family has discovered a strange little problem. Our emails have been getting mixed up! My daughters have been sending emails, but the replies have been coming to me. I have been sending emails, and they have appeared as coming from my wife. And in the worst case, some emails have been sent from a separate ical calendar that I don’t even check.

I have finally figured out what is happening, and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it earlier. Read on for what’s causing the problem and how to fix it!

When you compose a new email in Apple Mail, after you type an address in the ‘To:’ field, when you hit the ‘return’ key Apple Mail now AUTOMATICALLY changes the ‘From:’ address to whichever account usually sends the most emails to the person in the ‘To:’ field.

This means that whenever you send an email to someone who another member of your family sends emails to, it may put the wrong ‘From:’ address.

If you don’t realise this has happened, the email will get sent with the wrong sender.

If you don’t like this behaviour and you’d like to provide feedback to Apple about this, use this link.

A couple of thoughts:

• This never used to happen. I think that the way it used to work is that Apple Mail looked at which ‘Inbox’ you had selected, and it would make that person the ‘Sender’.

• It was fair enough for Apple mail to change the ‘From’ field according to which Inbox you had open, because it does it at the time you create a new message window. It’s much less intuitive that Apple Mail changes the ‘From’ field on the fly after you type in a person’s name into the ‘To:’ field.

• This update seems to have happened automatically with the update to MacOS Sierra.

• This is only a problem is you have multiple email accounts in Apple Mail.

• There is a work-around. You can go to ‘Mail’ –> ‘Preferences’ –> ‘Composing’ and where it says ‘Send new messages from:’ change it from ‘Automatically select Best Account’ to be one specific account. The problem now is that you will have to manually enter the ‘From:’ address for every new email.

Deselect the ‘Automatically select best account’ to stop Apple mail from changing the ‘From:’ field after you start a new mail message.

UPDATE – a better work-around.


Thanks to Donn’s comment below, here’s a better work-around.

If you select a ‘dummy’ account for the default ‘from’ account, then disable that account, you will get the required behaviour!

    1. Make a dummy account.

      Create a ‘dummy’ account. It can be anything. You may need to enter the fake password 2 or 3 times before it accepts it.

    2. Set the dummy account as the default send from account.

      If you can’t see it quit and re-start mail.

      Set the ‘dummy’ account as the default sending account.

    3. Disable the dummy account.

      Disable the dummy account and mail will now automatically select the sending account based on the inbox that you are in.


Here’s my feedback to Apple. (Yes I know there’s a typo!)

20 Responses to “Apple mail changing my ‘From:’ sender account”

  1. Donn Hines says:

    FYI, I think I’ve figured out a workaround that allows to get back to the old behavior of selecting the sender based on whatever account I’m browsing at the time of composition. Your solution defaults to one particular account, which is not really what we want.
    Basically, in mail preferences, I set up a nonexistent email account ( Then I set that to my default sender. THEN I disabled the dummy account. Not deleted, but unchecking the enabled box for the dummy account. Now when I compose a new email I get the desired behavior.

    Definitely a kludge, but seems to work.

    Thanks for your pointers. It helped me get part of the way there!


  2. Donn Hines says:

    Somehow my Mac mail went back to the old irritating behavior. Probably because of an OS update is my guess. Anyway, I repeated the above procedure, although I did discover after setting up the dummy account that I needed to completely quit the email application, then start it back up, then set the default to the dummy account, and then FINALLY disable the dummy account. To be extra sure, I quit email again and restarted it again, just to be sure it was behaving correctly.

    • Pikabill says:

      The fake account trick worked for me, but the trick required me to quit and reopen Apple Mail AFTER EACH STEP… but it works!

  3. Bobmatt says:

    I have the same issue. Spend two days with Apple support, said for my Mail to work I needed to wipe my Mac dirive clean and reinstall drive OS, but this did not solve, then said I need to update form High Sierra to the new the latest OS Mojave and this did not work either. So stuck with the same unsolved issue. Disappointed – “No Solution form Apple support”

  4. Noman Shabbir says:

    Thank you for posting such great content about technology. I did the above-mentioned procedure and it worked.
    I hope you will keep us updated

  5. SS says:

    Damn, your solution worked! Thanks!

  6. Garry W says:

    I’m not able to get beyond the “unable to verify account name” when setting up the dummy account. Any tips?

  7. Jeff says:

    This workaround worked…until I restarted my laptop. It then reverted to the issue described.

  8. Cindy says:

    Darn! It didn’t work for me! I have too many email addresses, and it always defaults to my one IMAP account over all my POP accounts. I’m a web developer and have a LOT of accounts. When a customer emails me at one account, I need Mail to reply from THAT account. Instead of always replies automatically from my one IMAP account. GRRRRRR. The dummy account did not help. I restarted multiple times, the settings all held, but still defaults to the IMAP account. All outgoing server and account setting are perfect, and still nothing solves this problem that I’ve now had for a year!

  9. Blake says:

    So great to find that others are having the same problem. With 5 different emails, I find myself sending email with the wrong account every day. And I always have to try to remember to check that. This work around solution with the dummy account worked for me, except that I have to turn off the “bcc: myself” feature, as that defaults to “dummy”. However, this is a HUGE improvement that I can live with until Apple corrects this frustrating oversight. Thanks!

  10. Barb says:

    This is new on my MacBook since I updated to Catalina. Now when I send an email and copy myself, in the email inbox it shows that it’s from my husband who doesn’t even have an Apple account. I have Gmail, but my husband doesn’t even use that.

  11. Barb says:

    This is new on my MacBook since I updated to Catalina. Now when I send an email and copy myself, in the email inbox it shows that it’s from my husband who doesn’t even have an Apple account. I have Gmail, but my husband doesn’t even use that. And on my iPhone it shows the correct sender, me. So it’s limited to my Mac. Hmmph

  12. Arsen says:

    Do we have any feedback on when this annoying behaviour will be resolved? Ideally, they would leave both options so we can “fallback” to the previously default behaviour of using the account of which inbox we’re sending e-mail from (without using additional conditions into consideration).

  13. Steve says:

    I changed the ‘Automatically select Best Account’ setting to my main account and that’s fine for composing. But when I’m replying it usually changes it to my wife’s gmail account even though the incoming email was addressed to me. This is so frustrating and often embarrassing!

  14. Stacy Jackson says:

    I’m not able to get beyond the “unable to verify account name” when setting up the dummy account. Does any one know how to fix that?

  15. Ben says:

    How do I remove my email completely from the From: field??
    My friends are not as savy as I am in putting all their addresses into Bcc: so others can’t see theirs, but what about mine when they forward it?

  16. Rossana says:

    This has been happening to me since Catalina (MAc user for 30+ years). My emails are set to automatically send from one account. If I need to use another email account, I have no problem selecting the proper email. However, when I enter “resend” it automatically picks up another random email account, not selected as the default sender, and not even the email in use. I have to manually remove this and select the proper sender email address. It’s very frustrating, having used Mac mail for many years, I am not used to this glitch. Any updates on this?

  17. Sarah says:

    This just started for me after a Mac update, and I’m still in Mojave. How is this possible that Apple allows this problem!

  18. Tim O'Bayley says:

    This is really annoying. When composing email, the MAIL app should set the ‘from’ account according to whatever email inbox/account the user is currently using.

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