Mail's Previous Receipents folder

The Apple Mail (Mac OS) has a folder under the Window tab titled Previous Recipients This is one of the first places that Mail looks to complete the address information when one is addressing a message (New, Reply or Forward). This auto fill feature is valued

However it seems to me that the information in the Previous Recipients folder has changed. Previously the folder only contained the email information of people I HAD SENT a message to. Now it seems to contain those PLUS the addresses of some of the people that have sent me email messages.

Am I right that the criteria for inclusion in Previous Recipients has changed in the past year?

If so, is there a Preference setting in Mail to retorn to the good old days?


This bothers me because many more, mostly unknown destinations, are appearing when addressing an email message


A quick scan through my previous recipients list does not confirm that that it has changed. There are just a few which I can’t find in my sent box, but looks 99% genuine sent

However I do think it is a Royal Pain, and delete all my previous recipients regularly. The problem is when people change their email and send the new address to me. I change it in Contacts and delete the old one, but forget to also delete the old one from Previous Recipients.

Next time I send them an email Previous Recipients (or maybe Spotlight, or both) find and offer me the old address and new address so then I have check which is right.

I would like an option not use Previous Recipients at all. People I want to initiate emails to are all in my Contacts, so Mail offers them. That is enough.

I agree that regularly deleting the contents of Previous Recipients is a good practice. I do it occasionally but not on a schedule

I attaching a visual that (to me at least) proves that Previous Recipents displays the addresses of people / senders in addition to those you send email messages to.

Following MIke’s message yesterday I cleared the folder of all addresses Note the attached image

With the possible exception of the first displayed address ALL were email messages sent to to my account. I did NOT send them a message

My supposition in true. The folder contains addresses fro all incoming and outgoing email Since the spam addresses don’t show it may be only messages that I opened

I still think it used to be different

Mike is right. Regularly clear the folder of all content and you will be less bothered with the wrong address being offered up when creating an email message.

I don’t send email from my iPhone so I don’t know if a similar issue is there