I never blogged much about iCloud Mail or Yahoo Mail as I never find it useful or interesting — except the disposable addresses in Yahoo Mail.
A disposable address lets you create up to 500 temporary email address within Yahoo Mail. You can create a disposable address any time and delete it after use. It’s a good thing if you don’t want to reveal your “real” email address to anyone.
It’s a feature that is really missing in Gmail or Outlook.com but both Gmail and Outlook.com support sub-addressing though it’s not as useful as disposable addresses. Anyway, I didn’t want to switch to Yahoo Mail only to get that feature.
But a few years back I realized that an iCloud email address (@icloud.com) is also useful — and interesting — as it supports both sub-addressing and disposable addresses (sort of).
So What’s Up With iCloud Mail?
iCloud Mail was just another email address for me. In fact, I never liked it or used it much as I was absolutely sure that it didn’t have anything much to offer — when compared to Gmail or Outlook.com or even Yahoo Mail.
Recently as I was exploring different options under iCloud Mail Preferences, I noticed that iCloud’s email aliases works differently and it’s actually a combination of Outlook.com’s alias feature and Yahoo Mail’s disposable address.
With iCloud Mail, you can create up to 3 email aliases and what’s really interesting about it is that you can turn it off when you don’t need it. For instance, you can create an iCloud email alias to signup for mailing list (and can set up “rules” to automatically organize those messages) and can delete it later when you no longer need those newsletters.
Go to iCloud.com > Mail > Preferences > Accounts to create, delete, or turn off email aliases. You can create up to 3 aliases and can delete or turn it off at any time. And yeah, you can even send emails from all your active alias addresses. But deletion is permanent and you should do it only when you’re sure that you won’t need it.
And hey, all your iCloud email addresses supports sub-addressing. It basically means that you can append a plus (“+”) sign and a keyword after your primary username or any of your aliases and it virtually becomes another email address.
BONUS 1: Sub-addressing @ Gmail & Outlook.com
Gmail was one of the first email service providers to support “plus addressing” and now it’s very common among all its peers like Outlook.com. At Gmail and Outlook.com, your single @gmail.com or @outlook.com address = unlimited email addresses. You can append a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your username.
For example, if my Gmail username is “maheshone” then all the following addresses — [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. — are valid and all the messages send to those addresses will be delivered to my primary inbox. And it works on Outlook.com too!
BONUS 2: Aliases @ Outlook.com & Yahoo Mail
Outlook.com supports both sub-addressing and multiple aliases. But it’s quite different from iCloud Mail as you can’t turn it off. An Outlook.com alias is like an additional email address that can send and receive messages just like your primary account — except that both shares a single inbox.
You can delete it permanently but can’t turn it off. However, you (or anyone else) can register it again when it becomes publicly available.
Yahoo’s alias works in a different way. You can create an extra email address or multiple aliases. The extra email address is like a another Yahoo ID but the alias is an extension of your primary Yahoo ID. It basically means that you can’t receive emails to your alias but it can be used to mask your Yahoo ID on public Yahoo portals like Messenger, Message Boards, etc.
So if you want to create an email account for your work then you need to create an extra email address and if you want to fight spam then you need to create disposable email addresses (explained below).
BONUS 3: Disposable Addresses @ Yahoo Mail
With Yahoo Mail, you can create up to 500 disposable addresses and it can act as a permanent address as well, if you want.
It works like this: You create a new username (known as base name) which is basically the first part of your disposable address and it will be present in all your future disposable addresses (it’s permanent and you CAN’T change it later).
Once the base name is setup you can start creating your disposable addresses. Let’s say, my base name is “maheshone” then I can create disposable addresses like [email protected], [email protected], etc.
That is, your base name and the keywords are separated by a hyphen and not a plus (“+”) sign. And I can even send emails from all my disposable addresses.
It’s nice that Yahoo is using a “hyphen” (and not a “plus sign”) because it looks much more credible than an email address with a plus (“+”) sign in it.
My preferred email service is (and was always) Gmail though I tried to switch to Outlook.com as well. However, I hate the @gmail.com addresses and prefer an @outlook.com or even a @hotmail.com account if I have to go for it.
But now it appears like iCloud Mail is also useful. What do you think?
Just in case, if I missed another unique feature of iCloud Mail then let me know as a comment below and I will be happy to list it.
Happy Emailing (And Spam Fighting)! ;)
First Published: July 29, 2015; Last Updated: Sunday, March 11, 2018.