How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients

Keep email addresses private when sending to multiple recipients

Sending an email to undisclosed recipients protects everyone's privacy and makes the email look clean and professional.

The alternative is to send an email to multiple recipients while listing all their addresses in the To: or Cc: fields. Not only does this definitely look messy to everyone who looks at who the message was sent to, but it also exposes everyone's email address.

To send an email to undisclosed recipients is as easy as putting all the recipient addresses in the Bcc: field so that they're hidden from each other. The other part of the process involves sending the email to yourself under the name "Undisclosed Recipients" so that everyone can clearly see that the message was sent to multiple people whose identities are unknown.

How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients

  1. Create a new message in your email client.

  2. Type Undisclosed Recipients in the To: field, followed by your email address in < >. For example, type Undisclosed Recipients<>.

    To: undisclosed recipients for a new email in macOS Mail

    If this doesn't work, make a brand new contact in the address book, name it "Undisclosed Recipients" and then type your email address in the address text box.

  3. In the Bcc: field, type all the email addresses that the message should be sent to, separated by commas. If these recipients are already contacts, it should be fairly easy to start typing their names or addresses so that the program will autofill those entries.

    Bcc: field in undisclosed recipients email in Mail app for macOS

    If your email program doesn't show the Bcc: field by default, open the preferences and look for that option somewhere so that you can enable it.

  4. Compose the rest of the message normally, adding a subject and writing the body of the message, and then send it off when you're done.

If you end up doing this often, feel free to make a new contact called "Undisclosed Recipients" that includes your email address. It'll be easier next time to just send the message to the contact you already have in your address book.

Use Bcc With Caution

Seeing Undisclosed Recipients in the To: field of an email is a clear indication that other people received the same email, but you don't know who or why.

To understand this, consider if you decided to send your email to just one name (not Undisclosed Recipients) and still Bcc other recipients. The problem that arises here is if the original recipient or any Cc'd recipients find out other people were copied on what they assumed was a private email. This can damage your reputation and cause bad feelings.

How would they find out? Simple: when one of your BCC recipients happens to "reply to all" on the email, that person's identity is exposed to all the hidden recipients. Even though none of the other Bcc names are revealed, the existence of a hidden list is discovered.

Much can go wrong here if any of the recipients reply with disparaging remarks about someone who is on the blind carbon-copy list. This all-too-easy-to-make mistake could cost a co-worker her job or damage a relationship with an important client.

So, the message here is to use Bcc lists with caution and broadcast their existence with the Undisclosed Recipients name. Another option is to just mention in the email that it was sent to other people and that nobody should use the "reply to all" option.

Instructions for Specific Email Programs

Although these general instructions work in most email programs, small variations might exist. If your email client is listed below, check its specific instructions for how to use the Bcc field to send a message to undisclosed recipients.