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Goodbye to the ghosts of emails past

Jeffery Battersby | Aug. 27, 2015
Get rid of those unwanted email address that show up when composing a new email in Apple's Mail.

This opens a window displaying a list of everyone you’ve sent email messages to. Take note of the first column. Anyone with a contact card next to their name is someone who is already in your Contact list, nothing in that field means they’re not. To add a previous recipient to your address book:

  1. Select the recipient.
  2. Click the Add to Contacts button at the bottom-right of the Previous Recipient’s window.

You should note that this Add to Contacts option does not insert this email address into the record for an existing contact if one already exists for the contact you’ve just added. To fix this you’ll need to:

  1. Open the Contacts App
  2. Search for the name of the contact you just added.
  3. If two contacts appear for the contact you added, select both contacts.
    • a. Click the first
    • b. Shift-click the second
  4. Click the Card menu.
  5. Select Merge Selected Cards.

More than likely what you really want to do is remove the many oddball email addresses collected by the Mail app. For my money the easiest way to figure out which addresses to get rid of is to sort the list by Last Used date and delete from the top down:

  1. Open the Previous Recipients window. (Window > Previous Recipients)
  2. Click the Last Used column header until the oldest date appears at the top.
  3. Click the first address appearing in the list.
  4. Scroll to the last date you want to delete address for and shift-click that contact.
  5. Click the Remove From List button. 

You should note that this will not delete any contacts from the Contacts app, it only keeps mail from remembering past recipients.


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