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How To Remove Email Addresses To Avoid Mishaps Due To Autocomplete

Business Technology | November 29, 2012

Some programs that were developed to make your life simpler can actually make it more embarrassing. Autocorrect in text messaging probably comes to mind. But there is also the autocomplete function in Apple’s mail app. When you start typing an address in the “to” line of an email, the app checks your address book and will autocomplete it for you if it begins with the first letters of a name that is already there. This can be good, but it can also lead to further problems.

Autocomplete embarrassments

Before sending your email, the simplest thing to do is to check the “to” field. Make sure it is addressed to the person you wish. The problem is that you probably have a lot more people in your address book than you realize. Because of this, the autocomplete may pull up people you rarely talk to. This is an issue Brian Sawyer discusses in the O’Reilly Answers website. This can lead you to send important work emails to the wrong person. You might not even realize this as the person probably won’t respond.

Removing autocomplete email addresses

Luckily, if you have pinpointed what emails are often being autocompleted, you can eliminate them if you would like. Here is how: In Mail, click the “Window” tab. After selecting “Previous Recipients,” search for the email address that you want to remove. Highlight it and click “Remove From List.” It’s that easy.

Monitoring is key

Of course, once you remove an address, there’s no guarantee that it won’t eventually return to your address book. Something like collaborating with others through Google Docs can fill your address book with personal, rather then business, email addresses. So if you wish to truly avoid any email mix-ups in the future, you will have to frequently monitor your address book for any email addresses that don’t belong.


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