delete email address autocomplete

Every time you receive or send an email to a new contact, the Mail app saves this contact’s email address as a “recent” or “other” address somewhere so that if you ever want to email this person again, you can start typing his email address, and the Mail app will offer some autocomplete suggestions.

In some instances, this is a great feature. For example, you might not have saved the contact info of this person who emailed you 3 months ago, but if you remember his name, you can start typing it, and the Mail app will automatically suggest his email address, based on your recent communication with him. That’s the benefit of the feature.

The downside of this recent emails feature though is that it might save email addresses from people you don’t care about. Worse, it might save old email addresses that aren’t being used anymore, sometimes offering these old addresses as a top suggestion.

I recently experienced this problem. I updated the email address of one of my contacts, making sure I deleted her previous email address. Now every time I start typing her name in the “To:” field of the Mail app, it suggests both her new and old email address.

In this post, I will show you how to remove recent and other email addresses from the recipient field autofill in the Mail app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Where are these email addresses stored anyway?

To be honest, I’m not sure if these email addresses are coming from some sort of cache, but I know they stay here for as long as you allow them on your device. I also found out that these email addresses are most likely tied to your iCloud account.

I recently restored an iPhone and set it up as new. I didn’t add any email account yet, except for the default iCloud email account that I never use. When I started typing in random letters, it would suggest email addresses from contacts that I had obviously never contacted from this device, or even from this specific mail account, which again, is dormant. This makes me believe all your autocomplete suggestions for recent email addresses are backed up in iCloud and they are brought back up to your device as soon as you enable iCloud.

Adding to the evidence is that I deleted some old email suggestions from the Recent list on one device containing my primary email accounts, and it deleted them from my other device that isn’t connected to the same email accounts, reinforcing my belief that these email addresses are saved somewhere in iCloud.

How to remove recent and other email addresses from the “To” field in Mail app

Note that I do not believe there is a way to clear the complete list of all recent/other email addresses altogether. To my knowledge, you can only remove them one by one. If you do know a way to remove all of them at once, please let me know.

Step 1: Launch the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad

Step 2: Compose a new email.

Step 3: In the To: field, start typing the first letters of the name or email address you want to remove.

Step 4: You will see a list of email addresses that contain the same string of letters.

Step 5: Tap the little blue “i” icon next to the email address you want to delete.

email address autocomplete

Step 6: Select “Remove From Recents” at the bottom.

Step 7: Repeat the process as many times as you want

  • GzyOnline

    Great info to share, THANKS! and I’m so glad Apple added this feature in iOS 7! 😀

  • Jonathan

    Idk why, but it’s fun to try and figure it out. The guy on the top’s blurred email has “yahoo” in it. xD

    • Andy

      Third guy has Hotmail, fourth guy has AOL.

      • Jonathan

        high five for stalking. =P

  • JayDee917

    FINALLY! Thank you iDB!

    Now to figure out how to take “recent” e-mail addresses off of Gmail… It’s annoying seeing ex-gf’s name and picture pop up everytime you send an email…

  • Great tip.

  • Ashish Maheshwari

    I dont even know how many email IDs the mail app has saved like this. cant i delete them all at once?
    some preference file?

  • JS3

    is there a way i can remove recent’s from texting or imsg?

  • msrl

    Any way to remove all of it fast? Cos i have like a thousand recent contacts….:(

  • Mike W. Sanders

    Can you please tell me How to get rid of one that does not have an Circled “I”‘next to the address?

    • observer1959

      I’ve just started cleaning out my address book and this autocomplete list. I noticed the ones without the circled “i” seem to be the ones in my AB.

  • lisa

    I noticed that my phone (purchased in 2014) has old email addresses stored somewhere that show up in auto complete in an app called My Mail that I just downloaded also in 2014. But some of the addresses are people I emailed only from my very first desktop computer in 2002 from a hotmail address I used to have but I don’t anymore! How does it know all that?

  • if icloud connected i cant see circled “i” button

  • Erica S

    I don’t have a remove from recent option? Any ideas on another way to do it?

    • Bugzy

      Unfortunately this option is not there on IOS anymore. You can still do it on OSX.

  • Leah

    Open the Contacts app. Select the person. Tap edit. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap delete contact. Tap done.

  • MadMaxx63

    One at a time, really? Who has that much time on their hands? Doesn’t anyone know how to delete all of them at once?

  • Michel Munier

    no such luck in Chrome W7 desktop gmail, there is nothing with the names on the suggested “to” or others list to choose from. But I can see addresses from contacts that are not anymore in my Preview or Contacts list!