Out of all the people in the world, I email my wife the most (awww… isn’t that sweet?). However, when she quit her job last year and went back to school for her Ph.D, I had an annoying problem every time I drafted an email to her. When I would start typing her name in the To: box, it would always suggest her work email address. And every time, I would have to navigate to one of the other email addresses Gmail had on file for her.

It was only a minor annoyance so I let it go for a few months but it turns out the solution is quite simple. GMail maintains a list of your contacts even if you never add them to your address book and it uses that list to help you auto-complete email addresses. Gmail is currently transitioning between the “new” GMail and the “old” GMail.

New Gmail

Deleting Contacts from GMailIn the new Gmail, getting to Contacts has changed – you can find it by clicking the little red triangle to the right of Gmail at the upper left hand of the screen.

From there, the instructions are the same – you can just click the checkboxes and start deleting contacts. You can search for individual contacts in the search bar to find the person you need to remove.

Old Gmail

To remove an address from the list, do the following:

  • Click on Contacts in the left sidebar, it’s under your labels and above Tasks and the Chat box.
  • Then click on All Contacts to show your list of contacts.
  • Check the boxes that you want to remove, then click Delete contact(s) all the way to the right.

I circled the Contacts link in red and the Delete contacts button in green, here’s what it looks like:
Deleting Contacts from GMail

That’s it, no more auto-completing old email addresses that don’t even work anymore.

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51 Responses to “How to Delete EMail Addresses from Gmail Auto-Complete”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Yep, I had to figure this out last summer when my wife quit her job to be a stay at home mom. It took a couple days of annoyance to spur me on to action. ;)

  2. Olga Says:

    Unfortunately, simply deleting contact (from ‘All Contacts’) resolves NOTHING for me. I DELETED my ex b/f’s e-mail address from ALL CONTACT list looong time ago. I even searched his address in econtact folder. It doesn’t show up, zero results. Yet when I type first letter of his addy, it still tries to auto-complete it for me!!! So totally annoying, I can’t believ Google doesn’t bother to fix this problen!

  3. Joe W Says:

    Olga is correct. Deleting from All Contacts does not remove them from auto-complete!

  4. Uno Says:

    I totally agree with Olga. Have been having the same issue. :(

  5. Greg Brightman Says:

    Unfortuneatley this isn’t the problem I’m describing. My problem is that my old email address appears in the FROM box not the TO box. I deleted it from contacts but it still appears as one of my FROM contacts.

    Any ideas??

  6. Kevin Says:

    Not all of the email automatically load up into the Contacts section. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for all contacts.

  7. RK Says:

    This was the perfect solution to my problem! Thank you for taking the time to post it here.

  8. Maureen Says:

    Great tip, thanks!

    If this didn’t work for you, did you try signging out and getting back in? Did the trick for me.

  9. chris Says:

    Sign out worked for me.

  10. Ke$ha Says:

    If you go to contacts and click on the email address you want to delete put your mouse over the email address and click on the picture of the trash, it will delete the email. Once you do that you delete the name (if you put one) and then when you go to type and email and you type the first letter of that persons email address, it won’t show up. But when you go to your contacts list, there will be a blank bar there.

  11. fran Says:

    I too have names come up after changing the contact info. in Contacts. In contacts I tried searching for the name of the person I wanted to remove the auto old address for and low and behold both old and new address showed up. I tried deleted the address card with the old info. Closed out of g-mail and reopened. The seems to have solved my problem.

    Greg – to correct the from issue click on the settings icon in the upper right corner of the gmail window – it looks like a little gear. Click on the account and import tab and you will see a send mail as choice where you can select the e-mail you want to send from.

  12. Tony Says:

    Unfortunately I dont have a Delete Contacts Option on my page and under more actions, the delete contacts is not accessible

    Anybody know how to solve this


  13. Zaheer Says:

    For me I found the undesired contacts under “Other Contacts” and “All Contacts” even does not exist. May be something new brought in by google.

  14. Chri Says:

    fran, that worked!
    I copied the email address that I did not want to appear in auto – complete and searched on contacts. I deleted the contact associated, then i had to log out and log back in.
    Fantastic! I have been searching for this answer for a long time!

  15. glenda Says:

    Finally, and answer that worked. So glad to find this answer. The only thing that was different on my page was there wasn’t an All contacts listing. to click on to in the upper right hand corner. Other contacts is the wording that I had to click on to that is located below the Contacts word. This is where the auto complete email addresses were listed.
    Thanks for your help.

  16. Seth Krieger Says:

    In the new Gmail interface, I could not find “All Contacts”, but there is “Other Contacts” and that is where you can find and remove the old email addresses.

  17. Brice Lawler Says:

    If you click on “Contacts”, under “New Contact” you will see “Most Contacted” and “Other Contacts” (in addition to “My Contacts”). If you delete the contacts you no longer need/want from those pages, you won’t see them in the autocomplete.

  18. Vince Says:

    had the same problem I would send my wife an email and her old email address (before she changed he last name)would come up in the auto complete and after playing around with it for a while and almost putting my fist through my computer screen i found a method that worked for me

    Go to Contacts
    then on the left side there is a section that is labeled
    “Most Contacted”
    (there I found her old email address that was under her maiden name)
    I deleted it and a few others that were annoying me and it worked

    I hope this works for anyone that was having the same problem

  19. D Says:

    The reason it sill shows up in your auto fill even after deleting is because you have an email somewhere in your inbox or archives that includes that email address.

  20. Fernando Says:

    It seems to be solved, I deleted many old contact addresses and they are gone when I try to write an email of a deleted contact

    Thanks for the solution

  21. Erin Says:

    Per Gmail, I read that if an autopopulating email address is not in your contacts list, you should ADD the unwanted email to your address then immediately DELETE it. I did this and it worked right away.

  22. Beth Says:

    I am using an iPad and cannot locate contacts on the left.

  23. Penny Says:

    On my gmail page I don’t have a contacts list on the left hand side or anywhere else for that matter … should I? If so, how do I get it?! In my address book I only have “All contacts” and “Last import” (the latter makes no sense to me at all … have never understood it as it doesn’t seem to relate to anything …) This issue of old/former email addresses coming up automatically is driving me bonkers … Would love some advice please!

  24. joni Says:

    My gmail doesn’t have a contacts list on the left hand either. Can’t find it any other place . Is this something peculiar to mac? Help, I’m desperate as I can’t correct an error or delete an address from the auto addresses. Sure I can delete or edit my address book, but that doesn’t translate to gmail contacts.

  25. Steven Says:

    @Penny. Contacts is removed from the the new view of Gmail, but you do have the option to go back to the old view (this can be done by clicking on settings in the right corner). After having done that, Contacts reappear on the upper left. If the contact you want to delete is not in the list (which was the case for emailaddress I wanted to delete) you can try ‘most contacted’ or ‘other contacts’ and search for the email address in the search box.

    After deleting, you can go back to the new view of Gmail and the problem should be fixed.

  26. RAS Says:

    This worked for me. The site has changed since that graphic was posted (and is about to change again by the genii of even if it’s not broke, change it anyway), but I followed the steps and figured out where everything was. For those who were not so fortunate, try again to find the category that lists the most contacts (for me it was a category labelled “Other Contacts”). This is where every last email address showed up. Located the e-dresses that I did not need, clicked More, then Delete and voila, all gone.

    Thanks for this post.

  27. blaze Says:

    Hi why is so difficult to delete somebody’s email address .friend of mine died recently and i wont to delete his address.

  28. Erik Says:


    I searched and searched but could only find one entry for this person; yet, two addresses kept appearing every time I started typing their name.

    What I finally found is on this person’s profile card I had two addresses listed. Deleting the second address from their profile card did the trick.

  29. Abhishek Abhilash Says:

    Thank you for your suggestion:)

  30. Penny Says:

    Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I think I’ve cracked it … I start a new message, click on the name of the person I want to delete (even if I’ve deleted their card from the address book, it still comes up). Then I click on the little white arrow on the right-hand side of the auto-completed name and a drop-down menu appears and I click on: Remove from previous recipients list. Next time I type in that person’s name into a new message, s/he has disappeared! Hooray! Hope this works for you …

  31. davo Says:

    thanks, just hits the bull’s eye

  32. steve earle Says:

    How the heck does one remove an email address from Gmail.

    Please tell me laymens words.

  33. Sunny Says:

    Works great. I searched for the email address in contacts and then deleted that email address by clicking on the right of the field that showed the email address.

    The defunct email address appeared again after I logged in but on second trial it didn’t.

    Thank you for your post. It will save time and frustration for me esp. when sending mail to more than one person as auto reply all would not work for them even if I forward the mail next time.

  34. Miko Says:

    These instructions were close and they got me going in the right direction. I kept sending personal emails to a lady I didn’t know because her email address was very close to my wife’s. My settings were under GMail-Contacts-Other Contacts, then I just deleted them. Thanks.

  35. naren Says:

    I did not show my contacts list on my e-mail id …. ??
    i want to delete e-mail a/c on my id
    if any one cracked it then guide me step by step ..

  36. Mke Says:

    Signing out then back in will refresh your autofill. I just did it, worked.

  37. Raj Says:

    Pls pls pls delet my gmail permantly

  38. Raj Says:

    Pls delet my gmail pls pls help me

  39. sdfsa Says:

    i agree with olga – I can’t get rid of my contacts, whether they are deleted, blocked, delete emails, etc which is totally annoying and why i am going back to yahoo because i don’t want to by mistate email someone i have blocked

  40. ram Says:

    Here are the steps:
    1. Open your gmail.
    2. In the search box, search for the contact to be deleted.
    3. The search results populates all the emails with the CONTACT header at the top.
    4. Next to the contact, you would see a small down arrow (v).
    5. Click on the down arrow and click on the “Edit Contact Details”
    6. The contact information will be displayed.
    7. This contact information window shows with “More” button (one of the buttons) at the top.
    8. Now, click on “Delete Contact”.

    >> You can verify that in the new compose, you won’t find the contact for which you are looking out for.

    Hope, this helps you.

  41. Frans Nijs Says:

    I had 2 contacts appearing in the to field even after having deleted them from my contact list (already long ago). They didn’t show in the contact list just like that. But they appeared when I let GMail itself search the contacts for that name. I then deleted them one by one. When I did the search again, they still appeared, but with the delete option grayed. I went back to try the auto complete in the to field of a new message and they had gone! I went back to let GMail search for them in the contact list and they were not found any more!
    Just try it!!!

  42. Jon Says:

    Nijs, how did u do it?
    I deleted the contacts one by one, but they appear in search field when i am on inbox page.

  43. sistera Says:

    this worked for me – from Chris – thank you.
    Chri Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 2:57 am
    fran, that worked!
    I copied the email address that I did not want to appear in auto – complete and searched on contacts. I deleted the contact associated, then i had to log out and log back in.
    Fantastic! I have been searching for this answer for a long time!
    again thank you !

  44. Frans Nijs Says:

    Hi Sistera (Chris?)
    Glad it helped you out.
    Hi Jon
    Now I see why you misunderstood: I let Google search in the contacts list for these contacts
    and they appeared as result. I then deleted the result.
    Hope it’s clear now.

  45. Rash Says:

    After deleting the contact and mails from that contact, the contact still appears in the search box in main page of gmail.

    How can i remove that contact permanently from my gmail ID?


  46. Tim Says:

    The bogus/defunct addresses keep appearing when type the addressee’s name in the “to” window. I can’t acsess the bogus/defunct addresses anywhere and even if I delete the good address they all appear in the “to” window. Pain. In. The. Fanny.

  47. Jared Says:

    Same problem with gmail. Tired of seeing my ex gf in auto complete even though she is permanently deleted!!!!

  48. DontBotherMe Says:

    For me I found the undesired contacts under “Other Contacts”.

    I can second this

  49. MAC Says:

    “Other Contacts” is the solution!

  50. Bob Says:

    Not only should the facility exist to remove autos AND be easy, but it should, surely, appear at the Gmail login page, where the addresses appear, and not in individual accounts? These are not contacts, they are simply remembered addresses.

  51. Bird Says:

    I too am stuck in the Gfail hell loop… I mispelt an address, and now it shows up and theres no way on gods green earth to remove it.

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