Clean Gmail Contacts


You are composing an email and as you start to type the first few letters in the To: field, the email address of a long-gone colleague pops-up. Gmail simply autocompleted the field with an old email address. Let’s have a look at how Gmail generates your list of contacts and how to clean Gmail contacts you will not be writing to anymore.

Gmail Clean Contacts

Gmail Autocompleted Contacts

Gmail Autocomplete List of Contacts

Google’s Gmail is smart in many ways. When you start typing one character in the To: field of your new message, it suggests any email addresses which have a matching character within their name or address. It pulls these suggestions from 2 lists both found under Contacts: your My Contacts list and your Other Contacts list.

  • My Contacts

My Contacts is the list of email addresses which you added manually. Very few of us do this, so you may find when you visit your Google Contacts Manager page that the majority of your contacts were saved under Other Contacts.

  • Other Contacts

But if you forego this process and in order to keep your address book up to date, Google Mail dynamically creates a contact list based on the email addresses you have previously emailed. These contacts can be found under your Other Contacts list.

Clean Gmail Contacts List of Old Addresses

Here are the steps to clean up your Google Contacts:

  1. From Google Mail, click in the top left corner on Contacts.
  2. By default, you will browse My Contacts as indicated in bold in the left sidebar.
  3. Below My Contacts, click on the automatically created list: Other Contacts.
  4. Add a checkbox in front of any email address that are no longer valid or which you do not recognize and click More > Delete contact. It may pay off to also clean your My Contacts list.
  5. Bonus: if you want to keep contacts from the Other Contacts list permanently, move them to your My Contacts by adding a check mark in front of them and clicking on Add to My Contacts.

Happy cleaning!

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