How to Change Email Account Names and Keep Your Mac Mail App Organized

Posted by Melissa Holt on July 26, 2017
macbook email

If you’re like me and you have lots of different email addresses on your Mac, managing them all becomes important, lest you find yourself overwhelmed with confusing account names and descriptions. Part of this email account management includes how they look in the Apple Mail sidebar.
apple mail account sidebar
Each email account you add to Mail will be listed in the app’s sidebar and have its individual inbox nested under the top level combined “Inbox.” The names you see here identifying each account are generated automatically when you add the account to Mail and may not always be the most helpful for purposes of identifying and organizing your email. For example, you may end up with multiple Gmail accounts all named “Google,” or multiple Microsoft Exchange-based accounts all named “Exchange”
You can change the name at the time you add the account, but many users overlook this step. The good news is that it’s quick and easy to change email account names in Apple Mail. Here’s how to do it!

Change Email Account Names in System Preferences

For our example, we’re going to change the name of my “Me.com” email account shown in the screenshot above. There are currently two ways to do this: via System Preferences or via Mail Preferences. We’ll start first with System Preferences, as this seems to be the method Apple will focus on for future macOS releases.
So, to get started, click the Apple icon at the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences. You can also get to System Preferences by searching for it with Spotlight or by clicking the gray gear icon on your Dock.
menu bar system preferences
When System Preferences opens, click Internet Accounts:
system preferences internet accounts
Afterward, you should see all of the accounts you have configured on your Mac on the left side. This may include non-Mail accounts such as Exchange Contacts, shared Google Calendars, or Twitter (as mentioned earlier, Apple seems to be guiding users to consolidate all of their online accounts into a single place, so you may soon find that this is the only place to add and edit your accounts in future macOS releases).
mac internet accounts
Select the email account you’d like to edit and click the Details button on the right side of the window. A small pop-up window will appear allowing you to edit the account details. To change the name of the account that you see in the Mail sidebar, you’ll want to edit the Description field.
email account description mac
Replace the existing description with whatever you’d like. This only affects how the account is identified on your Mac, not what others will see when you email them. So, in my example, I’ll change Me.com to Apple Addresses:

change email account name mac

Least. Inspired. Name. EVER.

Click OK to save your change and then close System Preferences. Now, return to the Mail app and you’ll see that the email account you edited has it’s new name.
email account name mac

Change Email Account Names in Mail Preferences

As mentioned, the other method of changing your email account name is via Mail Preferences. Just open Mail and then select Mail > Preferences from the menu bar at the top of the screen.
mail preferences menu bar
When the Mail Preferences window appears, click Accounts in the toolbar and you’ll see a list of your email accounts on the left. Unlike the System Preferences method from earlier, this is just a list of email accounts, for obvious reasons. Simply select the account you’d like to edit from the list on the left and then edit its Description field on the right side of the window.
mail account description mac
Remember, however, that Apple may remove this method in future versions of macOS, so if you don’t see this option in Mail Preferences, try the System Preferences route instead.
Because I have so many Gmail accounts myself, making sure that they’re labeled in a useful way is very important for keeping me organized and productive. Hopefully, after editing your own email account names, you’ll agree!

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