Changing Email Address
Updated: Mar 20
Before getting to the particulars of changing my email address, I have an idea to pass along. When choosing an email address, think about not using an address provided by your Internet service provider. Here’s why:
If you change Internet service providers, you may lose your email account and will need to forward any messages and folders you wish to keep to your new address. A workaround is to use an email client program on your computer, like Outlook, Thunderbird, or others. Usually, within those programs, you can configure multiple email accounts and move messages/folders between the accounts. But, if you check email via the provider’s website, you cannot easily move messages between the old and new accounts. (I got lucky and did not lose my email accounts when I switched Internet providers.)
Internet service providers often do not have as many email features as dedicated email services.
Why I switched email addresses
Early in my Internet explorations, I made a mistake (for me) of choosing email addresses from my Internet provider. Over the recent couple of years, I began to have serious problems. Syncing my email accounts with the Mail app on my iPad became problematic on my iPad/iPhone/PC. Legitimate messages, like messages between my family and me, would inexplicably be placed into the SPAM folder. I missed several messages from my mother and almost missed a billing notice from my power company because of this. In October, 2021, I decided to change to a more reliable service.
How I chose the new provider
I considered three major providers – Apple (iCloud), Microsoft (Outlook.com), and Google (Gmail.com).
I chose Outlook.com for these reasons:
ICloud does not have the feature sets that Outlook.com and Gmail.com have.
I use the Outlook client program on my PC and there are similarities between it and Outlook.com online.
I use rules to handle incoming and outgoing messages in Outlook. I found I could create a rule in Outlook on my PC and it would be duplicated in outlook.com online, and vice versa.
I can contact tech support from within the Outlook client program on my PC or from within the web interface. I usually get a response within a couple of business days.
I’ve had zero sync problems since switching.
I like outlook.com’s Inbox management tools. I’ll write another post about those soon.
Outlook.com allows alias addresses, so I can remain anonymous when signing up for online trials, etc. If your provider doesn’t have alias capability, consider using Apple’s HideMy Email service.
I have a Microsoft 365 subscription, so I’m in the Microsoft camp.
How I Switched
I mostly check email using my iPad. I use a password manager program to manage logins and my secure notes.
I removed the old addresses from my personal “Lowell” entry in the iPad Contacts app and kept only the new address. If I receive a message sent to the new address, “Lowell” appears in the To: box. Otherwise, I see an old email address.
As a safety net, I changed signatures in Settings>Mail>Signatures on the iPad and activated “per account” signatures. I removed signatures from all old accounts and applied a signature to only the new account. If I forget to check the To: box upon message arrival and reply to the incoming message, I see the signature from the new account if the message was sent to that account. Otherwise, I see no signature and I change the From: address to the new address.
I sent an email message notifying my friends/relatives of the email address change. I was/am vigilant when receiving and replying to messages to be sure everyone has updated my contact info in their address book.
I used the iPad’s split-screen capability to have both my web browser and password manager open on the same screen.
I opened my password manager full screen and then tapped the ellipsis (three dots) in top middle of the screen.I tapped the middle icon to activate split-screen. The password manger moved off-screen to the left so I could choose the other app to display in the split screen.
I tapped my browser app and then both apps appeared side-by-side onscreen.
My password manager is organized by categories/folders. I first converted the financial category and health/medical category to the new address. Other categories followed in order of importance to me.
Using the information in the password manger, I navigated to a website in the browser window, logged in (copying and pasting username/password from the password manager view), and changed the email address. I then logged out and logged in again, using the new email address. If login succeeded, I replaced the old email address with the new address in the password manager and moved to the next website. It usually took a two minutes or less per website.
Some websites did not have an option to change the email address. (Surprisingly, most of these were tech companies.) In this case, I had to open a trouble ticket and request the email address change. Even more frustrating, some of these companies required creating a completely new account. I use smart devices from these companies and in one instance, I had to reprogram ten smart devices so they’d be associated with the new email address. Ridiculous.
Other companies did not populate all their internal processes with the new address after I changed it. I’m still dealing with one because they apparently have separate process for sending receipts, sale notices, and account information. None of these processes appear to be connected to the email address change process in the main account.
When I “finished” changing email addresses, I used my password manager’s search function to search for the domain portion (outlook.com, att.net, comcast.net, etc.) of the old addresses to verify I had changed all account email addresses. This was quite handy in situations where the username was not an email address, because I missed some of these in my initial “run through.”
Moving Saved Messages/Folders from the Old Account to the New Account
As I noted above, I mostly use my iPad for email. However, I had many folders with saved messages that I needed to move from the old accounts to the new account. I could not complete this operation on the iPad because the iPad Mail app does not allow moving messages or folders across accounts. For example, you cannot move messages from a email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nor can you move messages/folders within the same domain - email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. To accomplish this, I had to use my computer and the Outlook client program installed on it. Of course, all involved email accounts - old and new - must be configured in the Outlook program. Using Outlook, I was able to select folders or individual messages and drag them from the old to the new account.
If you do not have Outlook, you might try Mozilla’s Thunderbird email program. I believe it supports this same type operation, once you’ve created all pertinent email accounts within Thunderbird. If you have a Mac computer, I suspect its Mail app may support moving items between different domains, but I’m not certain of that.
Your old email address may be used for many newsletters and mailing lists, for which you have no personal account or login requirement. Below is a list to help remind you of where you may need to change for sites with accounts or newsletter subscription services (like GSRLC).
Health/Medical/Portals (some medical personnel and institutions have separate portals for accessing medical records)
colonoscopy provider, dentist, doctor, ENT, hospital, medical insurance company, Medicare , optometrist, orthopedist, pharmacy, physical therapist, surgeon
accountant/tax preparer, banks/credit unions, credit card company, insurance company, investment/advisor firm, IRS, pension/other income provider, savings bond investments, Social Security,
appliance repair, auto, carpenter, cleaning services, computer backup/cloud storage sites, dietician, electrician, grocery delivery, lawn care/gardener, manicurist/pedicurist, personal trainer, pet groomer, plumber, roofer, technology support, tree removal, veterinarian
churches, daycare/children's centers, hospitals, libraries, Red Cross, United Way, senior centers
Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Overstock, Sam's, Target, Walmart, Wayfair
airlines, bus services, train services, AAA, car rental
current/former employers, HOA, restaurants, website hosts
Develop a logical process you can use to make the email address changes. My split-screen, browser/password manager process worked well for me. You may need a different method.
Monitor your incoming messages for a month or two to find those mailing lists you’ve joined, to determine if you want to change your address for those to stay on the list.
Some email providers let you use a vacation response or similar feature to notify senders of your status. I used this option to notify senders I was changing email addresses for a few days. I soon realized this method increased the SPAM I received during the transition because it confirmed the old address was a valid address. I do not recommend using the vacation response.
Give yourself ample time to complete the address change before deleting the old addresses, if you plan to completely close the old email accounts. I reasoned four months would be plenty of time, but I’m in month four and still have issues with that one company.
Use the process to “clean up” your stored login information. I archived many of my rarely used logins and deleted many logins because the company no longer exists or because my account no longer exists with the company.
Utilize your new email provider’s alias address capabilities if you sign up to try out new services. Should a company begin SPAMming you or you lose interest, you can delete the alias address and stop all email from that company.
I typically (but not always) avoid using anything associated with my name, address, job, etc. in my email address. I also try to have a short, easy to type address. I wasn’t quite able to follow those rules with the new address because of address availability, so I compromised a tad.