9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2013 4:49 PM by Barney-15E
delventhalz Level 1 (0 points)

So, here is a typical scenario: I have an email to write to a friend of mine. Being a close friend of mine, his email address is saved in Contacts. I boot up Apple Mail, and create a new email. So far so good. I start typing my friend's name into the "To:" field, but nothing comes up in the auto-search. I remember how his email starts, so I start typing his email in, but once again, nothing comes up. I boot up Contacts, just to be sure, and his email is in there. Finally I copy and paste it into Mail.




I know that I can look up Contacts from within Mail, but that's not what I'm looking for. I want Mail to automatically start search through my Contacts whenever I start typing into the To: field. But instead, it only searches through my previous recipients? I've also noticed that it doesn't pull up email addresses that were CC'd on emails I've recieved. In order to find those, I have to do a Spotlight search in Mail (which immediately finds the email address and even identifies it as a person), and then copy and paste it from Mail into Mail.


Am I missing some setting? When did the automatic search in the To: field become useless? Did I go into a coma and wake up in a world where Apple hates a positive user experience? Which OS update killed this functionality and why?



Really, any light on the subject or work-arounds would be appreciated. I've tried Postbox, and while the To: search works sensibly there, the program is slow as molassas. It is as awful to use as Mail, just in different ways. I'd switch to browser based email, but I have three addresses, and Gmail only imports POP accounts, one of mine is IMAP only . . . honestly, I'm to the point where I want to just stop using email all together. I have other complaints, but this is the most inexplicable and annoying.


Maybe I'll invest in carrier pidgeons.

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Linc Davis Level 10 (184,970 points)

    Mail > Preferences > Composing > Automatically complete addresses

  • delventhalz Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you, but that is checked.


    Mail automatically completes addresses of previous recipients. But that is it. It does not automatically compete addresses from Contacts, or from other emails in Mail (such as CC's).

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (184,970 points)

    Please follow these directions to delete the Mail "sandbox" folder.

    Back up all data.

    Quit Mail.

    Triple-click the line below to select it:


    Right-click or control-click the highlighted line and select

    Services Reveal

    from the contextual menu. A Finder window should open with a folder named "com.apple.mail" selected. If it does, move the selected foldernot just its contents — to the Desktop. Leave the Finder window open for now.

    Relaunch Mail and test. If the problem is resolved, you'll have to recreate some of your Mail settings. You can then delete the folder you moved and close the Finder window. If you still have the problem, quit Mail again and put the folder back where it was, overwriting the one that may have been created in its place. Post your results.

    Caution: If you change any of the contents of the sandbox, but leave the folder itself in place, Mail may crash or not launch at all. Deleting the whole sandbox will cause it to be rebuilt automatically.

  • delventhalz Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you again for the suggestion, but it did not change Mail's autocomplete behavior.


    I'm not even sure where Mail is getting the addresses it is pulling up for autocompleting. It has some of the emails I have corresponded with, but is missing huge swaths.


    As near as I can tell, this is how it behaves:

    - If I start typing in an address I have sent an email to in the past, starting with the first letter of the email address and not any part of the middle of the address, it will autocomplete.

    - Sometimes it will autocomplete based on names as well as the actual address, sometimes it won't. This seems to be based on how the recipients email server identifies the person.

    - It will not autocomplete addresses that I have recieved emails from, but not sent to.

    - It will not autocomplete addresses that were CC'd on emails I have recieved.

    - It will not automcomplete addresses that exist only in Apple Contacts.



    Is this how everybody's Mail behaves now? If there is something wrong, I would love to fix it, but I have two comptuers, and both behave this way. It is infuriating. Postbox was slow as ****, but it could pull addresses from Contacts, even though it was not Apple software. Not to mention, Mail itself can find and identify any email addresses when you do a Spotlight search for them, why wouldn't that same functionality be included in the To: field? Not to mention I am almost positive that this functionality used to be a part of Mail, and has since been removed.


    What gives?

  • Barney-15E Level 8 (45,330 points)

    I believe it will only autocomplete previous recipients and Contacts.

    If it isn't getting Contacts, do you have any other problems with Contacts?

    Can you add, edit, and delete cards?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (184,970 points)

    The only thing you describe that's not normal is failure to autocomplete addresses in the Contacts database.

    Triple-click the line below to select it:

    ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/MailRecents-v4.abcdmr

    Right-click or control-click the highlighted line and select

    Services Reveal

    from the contextual menu. A Finder window should open with an item selected. Quit Mail and Contacts. Move the selected item to the Desktop, leaving the window open. Launch Contacts first, then Mail. Test autocompletion of addresses from Contacts. If there's no change, quit both applications again and put the item you moved back where it was, overwriting the one that may have been created in its place. Otherwise, delete the item you moved.

  • delventhalz Level 1 (0 points)

    Okay, so I tried the most recent fix, and at first it didn't seem to work.


    Then I thought maybe it was the particular contact I was trying that was the problem, and while it took awhile to find another email that was definitely in Contacts and definitely not a previous recipient, I did find one, and it worked!


    But why didn't the original contact I had been testing with still not work?



    So, I've fiddled around, and it seems like Mail WILL autocomplete the first or last name of Contacts, but it will NOT autocomplete the names of companies in Contacts.


    Or at least that is how it works on my computer. It will autocomplete the email address (if you know how it starts), but if all you know if the corporate name then you have to open the Address Panel and search for it in there. It's a baffling distinction, but at least I have a work around now. I will just never classify anything as a Company again. Even if it is.

  • Barney-15E Level 8 (45,330 points)

    The To (or CC or Bcc) fields only match email addresses (and it appears only the start). If you want to search for random parts of things, open the Address Panel and search there.