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

Autocomplete embarrassments

Obviously, if you do not double check the “to” field before sending the email it might go to the wrong person. You might say, but I do not have that many people I email. Well, you may not realize that you may have a lot of old contacts in your address book that you never email. Brian Sawyer discussed this problem on the O’Reilly Answers website. This issue might cause you to send an important business email to someone you never speak to, and you might never even know it.  The person you meant to send it to won’t ever receive it and an email containing private information could be read by the wrong person.

Removing autocomplete email addresses

Fortunately, if you are aware of what emails are getting pulled up often, 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 guarantee that it won’t return to your address book. Even collaborating with a person on a Google Doc will add the address to your address book. So, the easiest 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.”

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