Nov 10

mail

Have you ever gone to send an email in OS X, and when you start to type the person’s name all their past 5 email addresses come up, even though you have deleted them from Address Book (Contacts App)? Where are the addresses coming from and how do you get rid of them?

Apple mail on the mac keeps track of every person you have received an email from. This makes it easy to send them an email even if they are not in your address book. But this feature becomes a pain when people change their email address and Apple mail remembers the old one. It’s simple to fix though.

To delete a person’s old email address, in Mail  go to ‘Window’ menu and ‘Previous Recipients’.

Then click on the old email address and press the ‘Remove from List’ button.

You should do this anytime someone sends you a ‘my email address has changed’ email.

If this doesn’t work,  there are some good tips in the comments below!

86 Responses to “How to stop old email addresses appearing automatically in the ‘To’ field in mail app”

  1. Sheila Johnson says:

    I have done just what it says and they are deleted in that bit, but the old addresses are still appearing when I click on name to send an e-mail

    • harry says:

      I have the same problem, the name has been removed in the previous recipients list, but still appears as a selectable name in all new emails.

  2. dottie says:

    ‘previous recipient’ does not show as an option under ‘window’

  3. Kevin Kurumada says:

    I keep getting emails from 2015 over and over even after trashing them
    How do I stop them from coming back?

  4. Keith Dickson says:

    My old a/c. no.keeps stopping me from sharing photos etc and I want my new a/ c no. To be used

  5. tom missildine says:

    I have used the “Window” method to get an old address out of my computer. Ten times, no help

  6. Kevin says:

    I also have followed the steps suggested in the main directions above. I opened the “Previous Recipients” list from the Window menu in Apple Mail. I see the old email addresses that I want to delete. I can delete them. They go away. If I close that list and reopen it, they remain gone. So far, so good. BUT, when composing a new email, the old addresses (which I just deleted) still appear as options. The same is true if I close the mail app and reopen it. I doubt rebooting the machine will help but I’ll try it.

    I’m on a Mac Book Pro running Mojave OS 10.14.6 Mail Version 12.4 (3445.104.11)

  7. JUNE says:

    can I delete an old email address and COMPLETDLY REMOVE ICLOUDI hate it,it screws up everthing. I need to trash it

    • Irwin Judson says:

      Hi June,
      I agree, absolutely. It does screw everything up. The frustrations were furious, especially in .pages until I discovered / figured out that iCloud was the problem, not me!

  8. Lucy says:

    This really works…

    (I use MacBook Air laptop. OX High Sierra 10.13)

    Click on the CONTACTS icon (yellow book) on the Dock (opens up a window)

    Then click on CONTACTS in the menu bar (above) Yes, above.

    In the sub-menu, select PREFERENCES (opens a window automatically in the General section)

    Deselect “Show contacts Siri found in apps”

    This will remove old email contacts when writing an email draft.

    • Rosemarie says:

      Thank you so much, only deselecting Siri removed the unwanted address permanently.

    • Marcella Q says:

      Thank you!

    • Lin says:

      Well it sure doesn’t work for me. Nothing does. Worked HOURS on the internet at various times. Delete ’em. They come back. Why I can’t delete the mailbox is beyond me!! Very frustrating. I have them in two places in Mac Mail – Contacts and Emailed Contacts. There is no ‘Show contacts Siri found i apps on my updated version of iMac.

    • C S Cornish says:

      MY HERO. Thank you a million. I was so sick of Siri finding old addresses and sticking them in my emails.

  9. William says:

    I have deleted an email address but the email address comes to the screen and I cannot get rid of it…goes away when email closes or when trying to delete from screen. No malware or virus found…what gives?

  10. Bob B says:

    I went to Systems Preferences, clicked on Siri selected Preferences and unchecked every program listed. I don’t use /siri, It is a nuisance.

  11. AR says:

    After removing the emails, QUIT mail and then reopen it. They will be gone.

  12. Dean says:

    Here’s the quick and simple fix:

    1. Make sure the unwanted email address isn’t in an email address.
    2. In the Mail app on your Mac, choose Window > Previous Recipients.
    3. Find the address you want to delete. You can search for it or sort the list by clicking a column header.
    If you want to check the address in the Contacts app, double-click the card icon in front of the address. If you don’t see a card and want to keep the address in Contacts, just select the address, then click Add to Contacts.
    4. Click Remove From List.

    It’s gone.

  13. Jim Dove says:

    I had this problem and finally found an unsuspected culprit. I removed the email address from my previous recipients and contact list but also had it entered as a relative too.

    Once I removed both listings from my contacts the old email was discarded permanently and no longer pops up when I type the first letters of the name in the email header. Halleluja!

  14. Used2Could says:

    Just change your email address. Problem solved.

  15. Macbook Pro:
    Go to Google Contacts
    Scroll to Other Contacts on left
    Delete all that you will

  16. esamax says:

    There is another problem I found for those who cannot get rid of an old email – Siri remembers email addresses so I believe you must delete any old email that is still on your computer with the old address

  17. Bas Meijer says:

    The thing is, there are redundant email addresses that are stored locally on your Mac and on iCloud. To get rid of the Mac ones as explained before: In Mail in the menu bar got to Window > Previous Recipients and get rid of the addresses you like. I got rid of everything here, nice and clean restart.
    Now, there might ALSO be some redundant email addresses stores in iCloud, to get rid of those you have to edit every contact one by one and check what needs to be deleted. This can be done on any device that logs in to your iCloud accoun, so this can be your Contacts application on you Mac, you iOS or iPadOS device, or alternatively you can even log into iCloud.com on any browser and go to Contacts and to it from there. The advantage is that once you have done that, all your Apple devices that sync to iCloud are up to date.
    That is providing iCloud is your one and ONLY source of your Contacts (check the Internet Account settings in the System Preferences), otherwise you have to check e.g. your Google account too. In my case I also had to get rid of some files in the user library.
    Delete the files in /Users/YOUR_USERNAME/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/ that start with MailRecents* and restart Mail.

  18. candy says:

    after deleting contact on mac (mail>window>previous recipients>delete), DELETE FROM PHONE CONTACTS!

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