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Question: Messages on Mac: Old addresses appear in autofill

There has been an extensive string of posts on this subject, but they are now quite old. I am on macOS 10.13.4 on my computer and on iOS 11.3 on my iPhone.

My son has two American mobile numbers and a British one. He is now living in Britain, as I am, too. When I type his name into the address field in Messages on my Mac, all three appear. What is much worse, if I reply to one of his texts sent from his British mobile number, my reply goes to one of his American numbers and then back to Britain, which costs him quite a lot of money.

I have removed his American numbers from Contacts in both my devices and checked that they have gone from iCloud also; and I have deleted all past messages addressed to him from both devices. I have also deleted them from past emails in Mail/Window'Previous. recipients.

I have, further, tried all the many suggested procedures in the earlier string of posts on this subject, in Mail as well as Messages and others. But these all related to earlier operating systems. Can anyone please help me to remove the unwanted American addresses in my newer operating systems, High Sierra and iOS 11.3?

Mac mini, macOS High Sierra (10.13.4)

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Apr 23, 2018 12:29 PM in response to Michael Graubart In response to Michael Graubart


There still does not appear to be a one place sorts all on this.

The info that appears in the "To" spot seems related to what used to be the Recent Chats list.

This is no longer a Menu Item but the info is still stored in

This is found in ~/Library/Preferences

You need Xcode (free to edit a .plist in a readable manner).

How many Recent Chats is controlled by the setting for Recent Documents and apps and Servers in System Preferences > General Section.

More info seems to be also pulled from ~/Library/Containers/

There are various actual .plists in here (the majority seems to be Aliases)

You need the one called

This holds iMessages Contacts and Buddy List "names" that can also be removed. However it does not seem to hold all the info you expect it to.

This Picture shows the list of account that used to open in Sierra's version of Messages.

User uploaded file

Most are AIM Account or AIM valid Screen Names

I had about 9 that were active all at once.

However I have had 3 other Jabber accounts as well as Google one and a Yahoo account.

Checking through the 19 I appear to have had it seems some are duplicates.

User uploaded file

8:29 pm Monday; April 23, 2018

 iMac 2.5Ghz i5 2011 (Sierra)
 G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
 MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
 Mac OS X (10.6.8),
 iPhone 6 iOS 11.x and an iPad (2)

Apr 23, 2018 12:29 PM

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Apr 24, 2018 2:16 PM in response to Miss Smartie Partie In response to Miss Smartie Partie

No, he hasn’t. He uses them when he visits NY for his work. The problem is with, and must be solved in, my own computer.

I have given up trying to do so myself and have taken my computer to an Apple repairer.

Apr 24, 2018 2:16 PM

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User profile for user: Michael Graubart

Question: Messages on Mac: Old addresses appear in autofill