I have a question similar to this one but slightly different.

Some of my contacts have two mail address, an old one I shouldn't write to if I expect an answer and a new one.

Now, I do not wish to delete the old address because I still want google to find the older mails exchanges whenever I perform a search on this user.

Is there a way to tell gmail though that it shouldn't offer this address as a possibility when I start typing the name of my contact? (in other words, use this address for search only)

5 Answers 5


I tried several things and found some things out.

  • You can't change it by yourself.
  • The most contacted address is picked when there are multiple ones.
  • When you haven't contacted a person before, the most recently added address is picked.
  • The order in which the addresses are listed up in the contact details is unimportant.

It's sad that there is now way of defining a Default address.

Just as with phone numbers. Android phones let you choose a default number to call, but these defaults are only stored in your phone and are lost when you sync a new Android phone.

  • Thanks for the explanation on how Google "picks up" the right contact though
    – JMax
    Aug 9, 2012 at 14:34

Thanks for the question. I had the same issue and it seems that it was a simple solution. The order in which email addresses pop up seems to be impacted by the order (top to bottom) in which the address are listed in the 'Contacts' area. Check to see that the contact information is up to date and in the order you prefer and then when you compose a new email it should populate the email addresses when you type the person's name. Hope this helps!


Here's how I handle this issue -

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Move the email address from the Email field in the form for that Contact to the Notes field. This way you can preserve the old email address and Gmail will not show it in the auto-population list. The contact will also show up when you search.


Well this is not an answer but the search for one. My daughter has 2 work addresses and one is wrong and doesn't even exist in my Contact list under her name or any other. Yet if I input the first 3 letters of her name 2 name (hers) will populate and only 2. I did not realise this until recently I accidentally picked the 2nd and it returned a delivery failure. The address itself is missing the first letter and that would be the reason it is rejected. But why is it populated when I have not used it for years? According to many replies/answers, population depends on the frequency of using an address which in my case is clearly not the case. As for deleting it...Some says it can't be done by the user others offer solutions that does not seem to work for me.


You can add old email address. Go to Contacts panel then add email to respective contact. and then u can remove old email address.

  • 2
    This doesn't answer the question (or I may have misunderstood something). OP doesn't want to add the old email. He wants to keep it but he wants to choose which one will appear first when composing an email
    – JMax
    Aug 9, 2012 at 12:27

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