How to avoid emailing the wrong person in Mac Mail

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Many people have more than one email address and it is easy to accidentally send a message or reply to the wrong account. However, there is a simple tweak in Mail on the Mac that can prevent it.

You and many of your contacts might have a home or personal email address and a work email, or you might change your email address to a different provider. When multiple email addresses are in use there is the potential for things to go wrong. It is easily done.

I once changed my email address and for 18 months afterwards I continued to get emails to my old address despite telling everyone I had moved.

How and why does this happen?

It can happen when someone selects an email in the Mail app on the Apple Mac and then clicks the reply button. Here is an example of what can happen and it is a reply to Roland Waddilove.

Reply to an email in the Mail app on the Apple Mac - you can't see the email address of the person

However, there is more than one email address associated with Roland Waddilove in the contacts app. The question is, which one is Mail using? It is not clear.

In this situation you could be emailing a person’s home email account instead of their work address, or emailing work with a personal message you would not want others to see. You could easily be sending the email to an account that is no longer being used.

The way to check where the email is being sent to is to click the little down arrow at the right side of the name. The email addresses are shown at the top and here there are two. You can then select the one you want.

Check the email address of the person you are replying to in the Mail app on the Apple Mac

The problem is that often people forget to do this, but there is a way to make it obvious which account you are sending a message to.

  • Go to the Mail menu and click Preferences.
  • Select the Viewing tab
  • Clear the tick next to Use Smart Addresses.

Clear the tick against Smart Addresses in Mail on the Mac to see email addresses

Now when you click the reply button to respond to an email, you can see the email address of the person.

Tweak the setting in the Mail app so that email addresses show in the To box in emails.

You don’t have to remember to check the address and you are much less likely to make the mistake of replying to the wrong account. It is just a visual aid that makes it more obvious who you are emailing, but it is well worth making this change in the settings.

 

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Mail app keeps its own list of email addresses independent of iCloud or the main Contacts app http://www.mackungfu.org/removing-errant-mail-email-addresses

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