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Return to Sender?

Have you noticed that when you receive an email from a friend the return address is sometimes his name, sometimes his email address, and sometimes even only his first name or last name? Why does this happen?

The return address does not change on your end; it is specified in each sending device and can differ from device to device. The different return addresses you see from the same sender means that they are sending you email from their different devices.

Here’s an easy way to see how your devices are set up:

  • Open a blank email in each of your devices.
  • Put your email address in the “To” field.
  • Put “From my phone” (or “Computer,” or “Tablet,” or “Laptop”) in the Subject field.
  • Send the email.
  • Go to your inbox in any one of your devices and, without opening any of the emails, look at the mail you just sent yourself. Note the return address and the device it came from (listed in the Subject field).

The addresses need not be the same in each device — the choice is yours — but at least you will know what your return addresses look like to others.

You can change your return address in any of your devices. Each smartphone, tablet, email, and email program has its own place to specify the return address.

Do you know what your emails look like to others?