Autocomplete Mishaps: How To Avoid Them

Some programs that were created to make your life simpler can in fact make it more embarrassing. Autocorrect in text messaging probably comes to mind. But there is also the autocomplete function in Apple’s mail app. When you begin typing an address in the “to” line of an email, the app checks your address book and will autocomplete it for you if it starts with the first letters of a name that is already there. This is often good, but it can also create problems.

Autocomplete embarrassments

For instance, old or rarely used email addresses for your contacts will make their way into your address book. Which is a problem that writer Brian Sawyer recently addressed at the O’Reilly Answers website. According to Sawyer, he’s often sent business-related email messages to his contact’s personal Gmail addresses due to this. This may not feel like a big deal, but what if the recipient seldom checks his Gmail address? An important piece of business email may be neglected for days. What if an entire family uses the same Gmail address? A sensitive business email could be read by the wrong person.

Removing autocomplete email addresses

Fortunately, if you are cognizant of what emails are getting pulled up frequently, then you can easily erase them from your address book. To do this when you are in Mail, click the “Window” tab. After you select “Previous Recipients,” search for the email address that you want to remove, highlight it and click “Remove From List.”

Monitoring is key

Removing an address doesn’t ensure that it won’t return to your address book. Even collaborating with a person on a Google Doc could add the address to your address book. So, the best way to ensure that these confusions don’t happen in the future is to make sure you check your address book, and double check the “to” field before clicking “Send.”


Posted on: 11.29.12