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

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.


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!

80 replies on “How to stop old email addresses appearing automatically in the ‘To’ field in mail app”

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

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.

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

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)

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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!

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