Deleting Bad Addresses in Mail's Previous Recipient List

Today's Tech Tip comes from another reader, Marlene. She says, "I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of unwanted and old email addresses you click into when you send an email. I have deleted them from the address book, but they remain on the other list. Any suggestions?"

Short answer... ABSOLUTELY! 

Apple's Mail app (like most modern mail clients) retains a history of email addresses that you use to send mail. It does this to make it easier on you when sending future mail to the same person. In a way, it's a huge time-saver. However, it can be a pain if you accidentally send an email to a bad email address. When this happens, that bad address will auto-populate each time you try to send that person an email. Frustrating! Have no fear, there's a super-easy fix for that. 

The list that I'm talking about here is called the Previous Recipient List. We essentially want to remove/delete a bad address from this list. To do this, begin by typing the incorrect email address in a Mail message. Once it auto-populates, press Enter to accept the address. Now, click on the down arrow to the right of the address (to expose a drop-down list of options), then click on "Remove from Previous Recipients List". This will remove it from the list so that it never shows up again. Now, simply delete the address from the mail message, enter the new address, and you're good to go! The next time you begin typing this recipient's name or email address, Mail will use the correct address.

To make this visually clear, I made a short (20-second) video. In this example, I used the wrong address previously for He-Man (I added a second 'n'). I need to delete the bad address ( and use a new address (

Posted on June 6, 2013 and filed under How To, Mac.