The Apple ID account system is rigid and inflexible. Once you’ve created an account with an Apple-managed address on me.com or mac.com in the old days or icloud.com in years past, you can’t change it. (It’s trivial to change if you’re using a third-party email address.)
What happens if you change your name due to marriage, preference or other reasons? Or are you tired of (or ashamed of) an address you may have mentioned in your youth and want a quieter label for incoming mail? Apple allows you to create aliases. (I first wrote about this in 2019, and the steps have changed with Apple’s relaunch of iCloud.com last year.)
Instead of entering your Apple ID, you can add a new address and make some changes on iCloud.com and with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other email clients to start using that new address. You can also receive and send emails from multiple aliases.
- Time to complete: 5 minutes
- Tools Needed: Sign in with Apple ID
- Materials Needed: iCloud account
Sign in to iCloud.com
Click the grid icon in the top right corner and click Mail.
iCloud Mail Preferences
Click the gear icon at the top of the left sidebar above the Mailboxes label, then choose Preferences.
iCloud Mail accounts
Add an email alias
- Click “Add an alias” (you can add a total of three).
- Choose a name for the alias, assign a full name that will appear in sent messages, and label it if convenient.
- Click Add. iCloud.com will tell you if an email address is already in use and therefore unavailable. If so, you need to create a new name. If it’s available, it will appear in your account.
Use an alias as your default address
Apple shows aliases as if they only work if the account name plus
@icloud.com. However, with my account, which dates back to the Pleistocene, or at least the dotMac and MobileMe days, I was also able to
@me.com with the same account name. You can see which ones work with your account in the next step: each domain will appear as a separate default address popup option.
To use this new address as your default return address:
- On iCloud.com, go to the gear icon > Preferences > compose and choose the alias under “Set default address”.
- In iOS/iPadOS, you cannot set a default for From other than the primary iCloud account name. While composing a message in Mail, tap the From and hold to select the desired From address.
- In macOS, go to the Mail app and choose Mail > Preferences > Accounts > iCloud. In the Email address pop-up field, you can select any iCloud alias.
This Mac 911 article is an answer to a question from Macworld reader Whitney.
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