Deleting an Address From Mac OS X Mail's Auto-Complete

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You can remove email addresses from To:, Cc: and Bcc: line auto-completion in OS X Mail.

Going and Coming with the Times

Apple's Mac OS X Mail has this great feature that completes a recipient's email address as you start typing it in the To: field of an email. I love it.

Recently, one of my friends changed email addresses, however. With encouraging reliably—and, alas, stubborn inutility—, OS X Mail kept auto-completing the old, defunct address when I started composing an email to her.

Fortunately, there's a way to delete old (or merely unwanted) addresses from the auto-complete list in a Mac's OS X Mail. The new address will be remembered automatically, of course, and soon that great auto-complete feature is as useful as ever it has been.

Delete an Email Address from Auto-Complete in Mac OS X Mail

To remove an email address from the auto-complete list in Mac OS X Mail:

  1. Begin with a new, empty email in OS X Mail.
  2. Start typing the recipient's address or name in the To: field.
  3. Select the address you want to remove from the auto-complete list as if you would compose an email to the address.
  4. Click the small down arrow next to the recipient's name or address as it appears in the To: line.
  5. Select Remove from Previous Recipients List from the menu.
    • If you do not see Remove from Previous Recipients List:
      1. Click Show Contact Card.
      2. Now click Open with Contacts.
      3. If the email address you want to remove appears in black:
        1. Click Edit.
        2. Now click the white minus sign on red () in front of the unwanted email address.
        3. Click Done.
      4. If the undesired email address appears in gray:
        1. Click the i button () that appears to its right.
        2. Now select Remove on the sheet that appears.
          • The sheet explains how OS X Mail came to associate the email address with the contact; it might have appeared in the signature of an email from them, for instance. ​​
      5. Close the Contacts window.
  1. Close the email composition window
  2. Select Don't Save on the saving dialog that has appeared.

Delete an Email Address from Auto-Complete in OS X Mail using the Previous Recipients List

You can also search for the unwanted address directly in the previous recipients list:

  • Select Window | Previous Recipients from the menu in Mac OS X Mail.
  • Highlight the address you want to remove.
  • Click Remove from List.

Note that this will not let you remove addresses that are picked from your address book.

You can also use the Previous Recipients window to rid the list of old, unused addresses, though.