Apple mail changing my ‘From:’ sender account

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!)


35 responses to “Apple mail changing my ‘From:’ sender account”

  1. Donn Hines

    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!


    1. NG

      Works! Thank you very much. I had to quote mail completely before the account registered, but it works!

  2. Donn Hines

    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.

    1. Pikabill

      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

    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

    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

    Damn, your solution worked! Thanks!

  6. Garry W

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

  7. Jeff

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

    1. Michele Sharik

      Same for me. The workaround was awesome, until I had to restart my laptop.


  8. Cindy

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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. 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

    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

    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

    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.

  19. David

    This is unbelievable. Has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen from Apple. It makes the Mail app unusable. It’s not even a bug, someone actually thought this was a good idea! And no fix or even acknowledgment after >2 years!

  20. At least it’s reassuring to read that this is such a widespread issue for complaint. Hard to understand why Apple refuse to fix or respond. The only thing I can add is that although I selected ‘Send new messages from‘ for many clients Mail still insists on selecting my gmail account.

  21. Abby

    Yikes, and thank you. Just came across this. My husband thinks I am crazy to say that Mail changed the “from”, that I am the one changing the “from.” This change to Mail is terrible, Apple. Today the “from” changed to an address we never use. So, thank you for these posts.

  22. Abby

    I have Mojave on my iMac.

  23. Andrew

    I think this is connected to the previous recipients list. I deleted my previous recipients list and this stopped incorrect From addresses being used. When sending an email it defaults to the inbox chosen. Of course next time you send an email to an address it will use the from address used previously and not the one for the inbox you are in at the time. I guess this makes sense as a way of working as it means you always send to a person using the same address.

    Make sure you send the first email to someone using the preferred From address and subsequent emails will use that address.

    If it is wrong – you remove that individual addresses from the previous recipient list and resend an email using the preferred From address.

    I hope that makes sense. It is a shame the previous recipient list does not tell you which From Email address it is using as the default fro each recipient.

  24. Scott

    I am experiencing a similar problem following an upgrade from MacOS 10.14 to Monterey. There are three email accounts set up in Apple Mail. Prior to the upgrade, everything was working fine. I had chosen one of the three accounts to be the default account for composing new emails, and that worked fine. But following the upgrade, Apple Mail automatically chooses the wrong From: address for every new email in spite of the selection of the correct account in Mail -> Preferences -> Composing.

    I know I could probably wipe out everything and start over, and it would work. But there must be an explanation for Mail’s post-upgrade errant behavior. And there must be some sort of way of fixing it. I know that underlying every configuration choice there is an editable .plist file. Does anyone know what file is responsible for this behavior and what line or lines would need to be edited to fix the problem?

    The problem can’t be fixed through the GUI in Mail -> Preferences. But I’d like to believe that some intelligent person at Apple can figure out how to fix this problem.

  25. Alex

    I’ve had the same problem as Scott above since the upgrade to Monterey. I was on the phone to Apple support about an unrelated mail problem today when I noticed it, so drew it to the consultant’s attention while he could see my screen. He was unable to offer any help.

    I’m going to keep pestering Apple help desk until the problem is fixed.

  26. Greg

    I Think I found the solution to this issue of Mail sending emails from the wrong account. I went to my Mail preferences and selected “Accounts.” I have two accounts that Mail uses, iCloud and Google. I clicked on “iCloud” and then “Server Settings.” The outgoing mail account was iCloud (which is what I want) so I left that alone. Next I selected my second mail account – “Google” and clicked on “Server Settings.” Here it too was using iCloud, which I do not want. So on the “Outgoing Mail Account” drop down menu I selected Google. After that was rectified I went to “Composing” and made sure that “Send New Messages From” had “Automatically select best account” selected. I then closed the preferences window, quit Mail, and then reopened Mail. All better.

    The above only pertains to users using two completely different accounts, but let’s say that you have more than one account using the same server (like Google) but they were for different uses; like one email for work and one for personal use. If you were to try and set up the accounts like from above you’ll run into an issue because the server settings won’t let you differentiate between two mail accounts from the same service unless you do a bit of editing. So in Mail preferences select “Accounts.” Then select your first account from the list and select “Server Settings.” Click on the “Outgoing Mail Account” drop down menu. At the bottom of this menu click on “Edit SMPT Server List.” The ensuing screen should show you that there are two accounts (Google in this scenario) using the same outgoing account. You don’t want that. So click on the first account and where is says “Description” edit the name to something like Google – work. Click on the second account and edit it the way you did before but choose a different description like Google – personal. Now you will be able to alter the server settings like in the first paragraph and have some delineation between your two email accounts.

  27. Steven

    My primary business email was being sent from my secondary business email even though the outgoing server settings for the primary business email was set correctly and setting for new messages was sent from the primary business email as well. I found the issue and solution for my situation by looking in Accounts>Secondary Business Email>Account Information>Email Address. I found and removed 2 other email addresses (maybe for the purpose of aliases) in the drop down that did not apply including the primary business email.

  28. Mark E

    Hi all,
    Another possible workaround…

    I have two accounts Business and Personal. Each is able to send and receive mail successfully. If I select the inbox for Business and compose a new email, I see the Business ‘From’ entry and emails are sent with the Business email reply details. If I switch to the Personal inbox and compose another mail, the ‘From’ entry is again correctly filled with the Personal email. However, the email that is received has the Business reply-to.

    Workaround: when composing a new email, always select the ‘From’ address, even if it appears to be correctly filled. The email will be sent correctly.
    Sooner or later I’ll forget, but at least this removes the doubt.

    This is clearly a bug and needs fixing!

    1. Good tip thanks Mark.

    2. Jeremy

      This doesn’t work for me. I select the address every time, and it nearly always sends from the wrong account.

  29. JJgotts

    When I “resend” an email that was originally sent from my email address, the re-send uses my wife’s email address as the “From”, even though she’s never emailed to that address before. Any idea how to correct this?

    1. I have the same problem! I have not found out how to fix this. I think it’s due to us using the same iCloud account perhaps?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.