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How Do I Remove an Invalid Email Address from Auto-fill?

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Is there a way to delete an address forever so that it will not come up for auto fill for Gmail or Yahoo or Outlook? I keep making a mistake and that’s sending emails to an old, outdated address.

Yours is actually a very common problem. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that can have several different causes, because auto-fill can come from several different places.

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Your web browser

Let’s start with the most common one: your web browser. Very often what people believe is their web-based email automatically filling in something is actually their browser – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and the like – doing the work. By that I mean the browser is simply watching for fields that you type stuff into, and then remembers what you’ve typed in those fields. It has nothing to do with email; it just shows up there as well as in other places.

The fact that it’s happening in your email program is completely immaterial; it’s just remembering: hey, there’s this field called “To”; it was on this page; this is what I remember it having been used for in the past.

Fortunately, you can deal with this one easily by simply clearing your browser history. How depends on your browser. In Internet Explorer, click the gear icon over on the right, then Internet Options. Then on the General tab, click on Delete under browsing history. Make sure that something called “form data” is checked, and then click Delete.

It’s this form data that your browser is remembering for you when you’re typing in things like your email address or other fields.

Your address book

When it comes to web-based email, sometimes bad email addresses like this can in fact make their way into your contact list or address book. It’s particularly true if you’ve enabled any kind of an automatic address book addition feature, or if this feature is active by default. This would add the email address of anyone you send an email to automatically to your address book.

So, you mistakenly send to this bad email address once and poof, it’s in your address book. The email program or site then tries to be helpful when you’re typing email addresses by recommending entries from your address book; of which this bad address happens to be one.

The solution here is also fairly easy. Find the entry in your address book and delete it. You might also want to consider turning off that “automatic add” feature, if in fact there is one, and you can turn it off.

Your email program

Now, some email programs (Outlook comes to mind) and web email interfaces keep a list of automatically remembered entries, separate from the address book. In cases like this, the first two solutions may not work. Here’s what I’d have you try:

Start typing an email address into the “To” field. As soon as you see the bad email address being recommended as one of the potential candidates, use the down arrow key to scroll through the list of suggestions. Once you highlight the bad entry, type the delete key. In many cases, this will actually remove the entry not only from the current list of suggestions but from future suggestions as well. You may even find that as you mouse over the drop-down list the highlighted item will have an “x” to explicitly allow you to delete it.

Yahoo suggested emails

As you can see, really this is all about the many ways your computer tries to help. Sometimes it tries just a little too hard. Hopefully, I’ve helped a little.

86 comments on “How Do I Remove an Invalid Email Address from Auto-fill?”

  1. If you delete form data in your browser, then a lot of good prompts will disappear along with the bad, I’m thinking. I never tried it, because I like 95% of the data. It would be nice if I was able to do a selective delete, similar to the saved passwords management.

    • It’s often possible to clean up those autofill lists individually. Try mousing over the autofill suggestions that dropdown and either click delete, or right-click and select delete. Depending on the form element it often works to clear up unwanted autofill suggestions.

  2. Good info Leo.
    Also, there is a small (and free) tool from Nir Sofer (NirSoft) called NK2Edit which allows one to edit the MS Office Outlook auto-complete data file.
    So if the bad address is coming from Outlook email, this tool lets you delete, correct, etc. the data.
    (I have no relation to Nir Sofer, just a geeky user of technical tools…)

      • This message is for a majority of thread participants, though my suggestions are for Windows desktops using Chrome browsers & GMail for email.

        Go to Chrome Settings, Manage Passwords, do a keyword search on something relating to what you are trying to eliminate in the box provided, find the line with undesired credential, & click the X or depress the Delete key.

        I recommend filtering through this area for all attributes ever so often or once a day or week per item to learn/set about every feature to avoid issues as this in the future, the same for GMail settings as well.

        Doing a Ctrl+F & typing a word or letters that you are looking for is a helpful tip in any screen of your fix or learning exercise. For example, finding the words “manage” or “settings” is a start, also look in the “Advanced” section per your convenience.

        Best regards, the procedures are similar for mobile devices & Android operating systems, but they apply to more general Google synchronization settings; good luck!

  3. Hi Leo, When doing a mass email sendout to friends etc, I often get auto responses from their servers saying their email address is old, wrong etc. I’ve now built up a folder with 300 in it (some of which are repeats). I want to then remove and update my Outlook Contacts without opening each contact maybe several times!. Sperry Global Search & Remove does not include the Message field. Any thoughts please? and thanks. Justin

    • I’m not aware of an easy way to do that. I also think that Outlook isn’t the best solution for sending to large lists using its contact list. Among other problems you stand a higher chance of your message being flagged as spam. I’d recommend a mailing list service like aweber.com

  4. I tried to delete the unwanted names in my drop down menu for Internet Explorer email program. If I highlight and click on delete or if I hit the shift key and the delete key simultaneously nothing happens?

  5. I too cannot in any way remove the wrong addie in auto fill as advised, it doesnt come from the address book,
    delete in any form does not work.

  6. Hi Leo,
    I am accessing my gmail through mobile application. I have done everything to delete/cleat the to: field/auto-complete section and it still shows those old/wrong emails. How can I get rid of those emails “On my regular Gmail Mobile application”? This is not happening on the web, everything is fine on the gmail web.
    Thanks.

  7. Please inform me on the following .
    On my gmail account .How do I prevent gmail from automatically filling in the address.
    For instance , if I wish to send a letter to David , how do I prevent addresses from appearing on my screen from everyone I have sent a letter to whose name begins with the letter ” D” . etc etc
    A thank you

  8. Gmail. My girlfriend has two gmail addresses. One she no longer uses. Ever. No matter what browser I use gmail offers both the current correct one and the unused (ever) incorrect one. I want to remove the incorrect one. No matter what browser I use it happens. I deleted the browser history from Chrome, Safari, Firefox, the problem is not resolved.

    • One possibility which comes to mind is your GMail address book. I believe, Gmail pops up addresses which are in the address book. Another source of popups is the form fill data. The method mentioned in the article should work, but if not, you might try selecting that address with the up and down arrow keys and clicking the delete key when the address you want to eliminate is highlighted in blue.

      • I’m having the same problem with gmail (using chrome in linux). A gmail email address keeps popping up, that the user is no longer using. It’s *not* in my contacts list. Tried clearing autofill (which is very costly, obviously, because most of it I wanted to keep) but it keeps popping up. Reluctant to kill all browsing history for obvious reasons. Is there some way in gmail to specify an email alias that would override the gmail’s prompt?

        Really would like to be able to go into the data source on my computer and surgically remove the one line. But it appears that the data is not stored as ascii text. At least grepping everything in the directory and its children does not return the entry I want to delete. Is there a way of accessing this data directly?

        Thanks for any advise!

        • Did you try what I recommended above in my comment to John? I’m curious to see if that will work. Has anyone tried? It’s worked for me in similar circumstances.

          • Hi Mark, I have tried your suggestion with one of my defective e-mail addresses, but it does not work in Chrome. I also checked Contacts in Firefox, but it wasn´t there (as I have removed it as soon as I found the defective version). Any other ideas?

  9. Here’s another way that I found to delete an old gmail address from the auto fill options after the previous suggestions made by others above didn’t work.
    I am using Gmail on a Firefox browser.
    1 Compose a new email and enter the offending (incorrect) email address into the ‘To” section
    2 Hover over the address and select ‘contact info’ in the bottom left corner of the panel that you can see when you hover.
    3 The email address will show in the contacts page even if it didn’t appear when you looked for it under Contacts in the first place (as happened to me)
    4 Select ‘more’ with the down arrow and chose ‘delete contact’

    This worked for me. Easy when you know how but it took a lot of trial and error before I found it.

  10. I had a similar problem in gmail, which was made worse when syncing my phone and m computer. Not only did it add in multiple contacts, but it added in old email addresses. I tried deleting my browser history but that did nothing. Finally I starting writing an email, clicked on one of the wrong addresses to auto-fill, then hovered and it brought up a screen that let me click on contact. This wrong address was not in the gmail contact file, but was accessed this way through gmail. now I could click on the email address on the contact page and then I got a trashcan and I could delete it. This is the only way I have found to delete unwanted addresses. and each has to be done individually. what a pain.

  11. I am using Yahoo mail with Internet Explorer. When I click the TO window and start to type a name, a drop-down list appears with addresses of people I have never corresponded with and don’t even know, but I recognize some of them as addresses that were probably used by people with whom I have sent emails to, or received from, in the past. Also, it will create false email addresses from real names. My son and I share the same first name but different middle initials…and I constantly see variations like my name attributed to his email address and vice versa. BTW, I don’t use any social networking like facebook, twitter, Yahoo social connections. Any thoughts on how to get Yahoo Mail to stop being so creative?

    • Hi Hairy,

      I am having the same issues with Yahoo mail. I don’t know a lot of these people on the drop down menu and don’t recall every typing in their emails or hitting “reply all” to any email. I usually just reply to the person sending me the email.

      • I am having the same problem with Yahoo also. It used to work when I deleted them, but like 3 mths ago it stopped working. I can delete them and it says perm. deleted but it just comes right back. I have been emailing yahoo for the past couple of days and today they said they are sending it to a different department. Its a pain to have all those addresses pop up.

  12. Sir you don’t need to do that all you have to do is go to your contacts (left corner Gmail in red, click on it) then select contact and below it select other contact and boom you see a list of every email addresses that you have communicated with. we all know that we don’t create contacts with every person we send mail to so that’s what other contact means i guess. find the invalid email address and delete it.

  13. I have tried all suggestions above and none have worked. I am using Outlook Webmail on a Mac. I have opened a new message, typed the first name of the person with the bad (and good) addresses, and while hovering over the bad address, tried:
    – delete
    – fn/delete
    – control/delete
    – alt(or option)/delete
    – command/delete
    – shift/delete
    – shift/fn/delete
    – shift/control/delete
    – shift/alt(or option)/delete
    – shift/command/delete
    None of these eliminated the bad address. Any other ideas?

    • In order to open files on a mobile, in fact, any device including a computer, you need a program capable of opening that file. All devices com pre-installed with programs which can ope some files, but most require a third party program to open it. For example to open Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF and a few more there is a free program called WPS (Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheet) Office which has a version for Android, iOS and even Windows. If you want to open other formats, you can Google the extension (the part of the file name after the last dot) along with your mobile’s OS name and the word open. For example: open .odt ios.

  14. Thanks, Leo! This issue had been driving me crazy and I finally googled it and came across your website. Solution #3 worked for me (Yahoo email). I’m going to spend some time checking out your website now, and probably sign up for your newsletter.

  15. None of these suggestions worked.
    1. I use Firefox and cleared my history. In fact it clears automatically anyway after each session.
    2. I use Yahoo, unfortunately. I assume by “Address Book” you mean contact list? Also no good. It’s not in there. And BTW that’s another issue. No matter how many times I PERMANENTLY delete unwanted contacts, they keep coming back, like magic. How I despise Yahoo.
    3. There is no way to modify, delete, or in fact do anything to the bad entry.

  16. To all reading this thread – if the wrong (old) email address does NOT show in the Contact Info panel as mentioned in suggestion 3 above and therefore cannot be deleted there, I have ANOTHER CURE:

    (I am in Gmail, but all email providers may have something similar. )
    Just create a filter (in Gmail, click under More at the top of your window). Make it a filter that, when it sees the wrong old address, labels it, say, WRONG ADDRESS.
    If you also need it to be a color you can’t miss (because you have many labels and don’t always notice them): in the label (aka folder) list at the left of your gmail screen, click on the square by the new label name, and you can change the color to a color you’ll notice as meaning ERROR (black? red? etc).
    Works like a charm! (Even lets you know when someone else includes that person on an email using their old address, which is sometimes helpful.)

  17. I did a bunch of searches and nothing suggested worked. I’m posting this in case it helps someone else. I opened a new email message, then started typing in the name. I chose the email address I did NOT want–the one I was trying to remove from my contacts (a defunct address). When I moused over the name box I got another box. I clicked on “contact info” in the lower left corner of that box, which brought me to a larger box in which I was able to edit the email address by clicking the pencil in the upper right corner. I “edited” the email address that I did not want by deleting it (just backspaced it out). Then I saved the contact. Then I signed out of gmail and closed my browser window. When I opened another window and signed back into gmail, that unwanted contact was gone and no longer appears as an auto-suggestion in a new email.

    Hope this helps. Pardon the non-technical language.

  18. I am still unable to delete an unwanted email address in my outlook, i have tried typing the first few letters to bring it up and tried using the down arrow so i can delete but it won’t and tried hovering over the address to get the x but still no luck, any other ideas?

  19. Thank you so much! Now I can delete all those bad addresses and avoid the nasty mailer daemon and the time wondering why I haven’t had a response!

  20. Think I found the solution for the autofill for an incorrect email that I could not remove. Fill in the incorrect address in the “to” line. Right click on it. Go down to “remove address” and voila, it is removed! And does not seem to come back. Now when I put in the name it comes up with the correct address ONLY.

  21. I have Mac, Yosemite, Safari. My solution was to put the incorrect address in the “To:” space, right click on the down arrow and click on “Remove from Previous Recipients List”. It worked perfectly. I had already deleted the incorrect address from contacts but don’t know if that was necessary. Clicking “remove address” from the dropdown seemed more logical but that didn’t work for me.

    • When in Mail 9.1 on my Mac, I have successfully deleted unwanted emails in the Previous Recipients list by going to the Window tab, choosing Previous Recipients, searching a name, then removing the one I don’t want. It doesn’t matter if the email is gmail, roadrunner, or any other – it gets deleted. I make sure it is not in my contacts list for that person as well. However, every time I receive an email from someone else and the wrong address was in the CC field that they sent and I received, it repopulates my Previous Recipients list. Is there a way to avoid/stop this?

      • March 24, 2017
        Thank you Debbie S., this finally was the answer for clearing out those annoying pop up email addresses accumulated.

  22. the third option doesn’t work. You can click that [x] and have Yahoo!Mail say “this suggestion will be permanently removed.” but it isn’t.

  23. Hi Leo,
    Is is possible to get email addresses on my auto-fill even though I don’t remember ever emailing these people and don’t even know who they are? I thought you had to physically type in and email and address for it to pop up on auto fill on the “to” field. I hope that makes sense.

    • There are a number of ways that could happen. One is, if the autofill is on your email client, then you could be seeing email addresses that came to you in someone’s cc field. For instance, if someone sent you an email with a ton of addresses in the cc field, and then you hit “reply-all” you would be sending an email to all those people. That’s why it’s so important for people to learn to use the bcc field.

      • Hello,
        So just to clarify, even if I was in a group email, as long as I don’t hit “reply all” I shouldn’t be getting their names/emails on my yahoo drop down on the the “to” field, correct? This is why I’m confused about what’s happening because I’m always careful not to hit “reply all”, I only respond to the person sending me the email.

        Can the email addresses be saved even though you never reply? What if I just open the email but never actually replied?

        You mentioned a number of ways that this could happen. What is the next most common way?

        Thank You.

        • That was just one example of how they got there. Another, for instance… I use my chrome browser in a “signed in” status. So I can go to any of my computers and use Chrome and have my favorites, and bookmarks and settings sync. If someone got on the computer in my kitchen and typed something it, then it would be remembered on my office computer – even though that computer never went to that site.

          These are just examples. There are hundreds and thousands of services available that my be syncing you up with something. Also, it may be that your computer has been hacked. Or it could be that someone is slipping into your house at night and using your computer. Again just examples. So it is going to take quite a bit of detective work to find out exactly what is happening.

    • Depends on the email service. Gmail, for example, may try to auto-fill based on your Google+ circles. Other services may use other sources of “people you might know” to “help”.

  24. I found a solution for myself. I use Yahoo Mail and IE 11. I typed in the To Box the name and the drop down gave the correct and several wrong/obsolete addresses for that name. Click on the correct address. After it populates, if you hover over the address you get another box which has the name e-mail, space for pictures, a search option and in lower left three dots. If you hover over the dots it says “Edit Card”. Click on that. The card is for the correct address but also includes the incorrects, remove the incorrect addresses and save. I had two incorrects and one disappeared but when I did a cdomputer restart both incorrects were gone.

  25. On my deskstop computer specifically on the gmail sign in box, another person username is permanently didplaying. I click sign in as a differet user but all my effort prove abortive.

  26. None of the material and suggestions presented in the discussion above work. I have repeatedly tried all the ideas presented here. Nothing works. It seems that it’s just impossible to stop the Auto-Fill feature in Yahoo Mail. No matter how I try to delete those Auto-Fill names, they come right back. They are never deleted.
    I have also tried to contact Yahoo Mail, but, of course, there is no way to reach those pinheads. They don’t want to bothered by customers.
    Any other bright ideas?

  27. To get incorrect email sign-in from showing in the pop-up for SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S2 new in Oct 2015,
    Go to “MORE” on your browser not your email at the top right and click it
    Click settings
    Click privacy
    Click delete personal data
    Click auto file data
    Three on the top of list is automatically checked so leave alone
    Click delete at the bottom

    Be very careful the first time you sign-in that your email address is correct before you hit enter because it will show again

    When you sign in from then on type only your first initial and only the correct pop-up will come up and you click it and it will fill in. If you type in the whole address and make a mistake it will show again.

    I finally figured it out after hours of working on it. This is for the SAMSUNG GALEXY TAB 2S tablet. not phones.

  28. Fixed. Thank you soooo much you did help me a lot I was already frustrated because an unwanted email kept on popping up and I wanted to remove it permanently and I did thanks to you. I really appreciate it.

  29. It worked for my outlook. That’s been bugging me for years. I just hit the X when it auto-populated, then tried it again, and it didn’t show up. Thanks!

  30. For Chrome, do this: In Chrome, Settings, Advanced Settings, Passwords and forms, Manage AutoFill Settings; from Autofill settings, point to X (Delete this item) and delete any entries under both Addresses and Credit cards; click Add new street address; fill in all fields including Email field or leave that field blank. This is the only way to ever access the Email field.

  31. I would like to delete OLD e-mail addresses from my current contacts in my Yahoo mail. These are still current contacts that I communicate with, but they have new e-mail addresses and the old e-mail addresses listed under the names of my contacts are obsolete – no longer used or owned by the persons.

    I went through the process of removing these old addresses in Contacts, but they still came back. Then I tried to begin composing an e-mail to the invalid address, so that I could hover over the “X” that comes up next to the auto-suggested invalid address, in order to remove that wrong address from the auto-suggest drop-down list. This worked – sort of – it did remove the invalid address from the auto-suggest drop-down, but NOT from Contacts.

    So I went back to the Contacts themselves (after removing the addresses in the “Compose” auto-suggestion list), and tried removing them again. They SEEMED to be removed momentarily, but when refreshing the page, and even when logging out and signing back in, there they were again – the old, and now invalid, addresses were still there.

    I believe Yahoo is assuming that because I still have some saved mail from the old, now invalid, addresses, that I need to keep those old addresses listed under the appropriate Contacts. But I DON’T want the old addresses saved under the Contacts’ information, even when I want to save old e-mails from those addresses in my account.

    What can be done about this??? Thanks….

  32. I have the same issue with Sky Yahoo email – there are some addresses that for personal reasons I want to remove and can’t For me this is just as much an invasion of my privacy. I have removed all links and search for all references to the bogus addresses and after all know clean-ups it still wants to autofill the search field. NOT HAPPY!!!

    Yahoo – we need to clean up out search addresses. I have tried all the above options and more.
    Thanks
    Martin

    • Fixing this will depend on which program is remembering the addresses. It might be your browser and not Yahoo at all. Try re-reading the first section of this article titled “Your web browser.”

  33. Hello Leo.

    I have deleted an old email address from Facebook, set up a new email address for Facebook only and have changed my password. BUT the address remains in the drop down tab at log in. I’ve tried delete and Shift + delete but it won’t go away. I’ve cleared browsing data in all browsers and deleted this address from my gmail contacts. Yet the old email address is still there. Even more worrying is that this old email address works with the new Facebook password to access my Facebook (!). I did all this after suspicions my Facebook account had been hacked.
    Can you help me please? I am very concerned.
    Thank you.

    • You were right in clearing your browser cache to try to remove the autofill. Perhaps do it again and make sure that deleting forms is selected.

      Almost certainly the form fill is specific to your computer. An easy way to tell if this is specific to your browser is to open another browser on your computer and see if the form is blank. For instance, if you usually use Internet Explorer get Chrome and try that.

  34. Been trying to do this for ages. I am using Gmail on Safari. I had to add the incorrect email address to my Contacts then delete it from there – now no longer showing in the auto fill list in Gmail

  35. G-mail will not let me remove email from a old inbox address and unable to contact, Need a legal number for cancellation, Old inbox used {removed}@gmail.com

  36. click on the chrome menu..3 vertical dots
    settings
    advanced
    passwords and forms
    Now go to MANAGE PASSWORDS and find all instances where the bad email address is saved. Probably at least two.
    delete them
    Now you should be able have a blank space for login ID (gmail email address)
    When that password is saved, the next time you login it should be your default address.

    Good luck.

  37. Google account must have been set up with an erroneous address restricting me from using the account without receiving a verifying email to an impossimle address. I tried setting up new account but still had to have verification back to bad address.
    What can I do?

  38. Unfortunately, you have not answered what I am facing. When I went to log into my Facebook account, I inadvertently typed @gmail.com as opposed to @ymail.com Thinking all I had to do was click on the x to delete it, which it did, the next time I logged on, the same incorrect email came up along with the password. The password did not change. So, I have checked a number of articles and other than downloading some program, etc. there is no way I can bring Facebook up without that email showing. I was not willing to take a chance in downloading anything since a lot of the things they tell you to do either don’t work or create problems in another area.

    • If I understand correctly, the name and the password show up when you go to Facebook? That would indicate that you are having your browser or a password manager save your login information. In that case, you would have to remove that login information from your browser or password manager. How to do that would be specific to the browser or password manager.

  39. In establishing an email address with Yahoo, I misspelled it now I’m trying to delete it, as I re-typed it correctly, and don’t know how.
    Please help!!!!!!!
    Many thanks,
    Marie C.

    • If you’ve opened an account with an erroneous name, you can simply ignore that account and it will eventually go away. It might still be there, but if you don’t access it, you can treat it as if it’s never existed.

  40. I use the Gmail app in Android. I cannot remove old autofill email addresses that are no longer used either. Tried everything I’ve read too. Very frustrating.

  41. On Kindle Fire, open Contacts. Tap on More Settings [3 vertical dots], Contacts to display, toggle All Contacts to OFF, but check all accounts, tap OK. Select All Contacts tab for full list. For each unwanted entry, tap, tap More Settings [3 vertical dots], Delete, and OK to confirm.

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