Who is "to me"?

K-9 Mail 6.704 on Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6 Email accounts are being used, the accounts list in settings shows the email account associated.
Show Unified Inbox is enabled.

When opening an email in the unified inbox or any other mailbox the header shows:
line 1: subject and star
line 2: sender email address and time received
line 3: “to me”

Why does it display “to me” and not the email address used in the message ?
The problem is that i know “me” but that is not what I want to see because I need to see who the sender intended to send the message to. The message my have been send to a shared account that I am monitoring. Like a backup application sending messages to a backup account that can be monitored by several persons.

As is the “to me” does not make sense (to me).

The recipient email matches the email in the profile that you named “me”. You can change the name of the profile if you want it to show something else. If you just want to check to recipient address, you can use Show headers from the menu on the upper right.

I do not have a profile named “me”. A search in “General Settings” for “Profile” does not return anything relevant. I have been unable to find “Me” anywhere.
And I do not want to check, I want to know, for this reason the looking at headers is not a solution.

It won’t be under General Settings. It’s under Sending mail. It’s not labeled Profile. You should find it under Manage identities.

I’m not keen on the change either, but it is the way K-9 works now.

In the meanwhile I have been digging into this problem and I have come to the conclusion that this “to me” is badly flawed and needs to be corrected. Fixing the incoming problem with an outgoing configuration feature is not a solution.

The obvious mistake is that “to me” is wrong, there can not be a “to me” because the incoming email was send to a mailbox using an email address that must not, but could, be one assigned to me.

There are a number of constellations that make the use of “to me” absurd:

  1. I have (at least) two personal email addresses attached to my mailbox: one using my real name and one alias using my nickname. Emails using my real name are identified with “to me” and the others with the nickname. But if I used separate mailboxes for these then both would be identified with “to me”.
  2. I have a google email address like most people have. The address is firstname.surname@gmail.com but google allows me to use firstnamesurname@gmail.com or firstnamesurname+something@gmail.com which are delivered to the same mailbox but only the address used to fetch the mail is presented by “to me”.
  3. A number of hosts send backup reports to a mailbox used for this purpose, this mailbox is never used to send emails, only to receive the reports. A shared account is used to fetch the reports, each user sees the report as addressed “to me” instead of the shared account name.

“To me” does not make sense and has to be eradicated. Resolving this with a “profile” to setup alternative “From” addresses is a sure method to create more confusion as it is not related to “To” addresses.

For anybody who does not understand: please try to explain “to me” to my 93 old father who uses K9 to look at incoming emails from two different providers but uses Outlook to write because his thumbs are too big for his tablet.

K-9 Mail supports the use of multiple identities. They can be configured under Settings → [Account] → Sending mail → Manage identities. They were originally only used to select which name/email address to use for outgoing messages.

Since K-9 Mail 6.600 the app now also display the name of the identity an incoming message was addressed to. If there’s only one identity (which is the default for most users), “to me” is displayed. If there’s more than one identity configured, “to [identity description]” is used.

As for your example:
If you have set up K-9 Mail with the email address firstname.surname@gmail.com and haven’t configured any additional identities in K-9 Mail, emails to that exact email address will display “to me” in the recipient line. All other addresses, including firstnamesurname@gmail.com or firstnamesurname+something@gmail.com are not recognized as email addresses belonging to the account set up in K-9 Mail, so the regular mechanism for displaying recipient names applies (depending on the configuration this could be: name from contacts, name from email recipient headers, email address).

I see that you did not understand my concerns, the need to configure identities in the “sending mail” settings (Manage Identities, Setup alternate ‘From’ addresses and signatures) to be able to identify the “to:” email address does not make sense and is for the normal user illogical. Then, with multiple email accounts configured, to see every message in the unified inbox addressed “to me” is confusing because I have to remember the email address attached to the account, it would be helpful enough to drop “to me” as is the case the account inboxes so why bother to add “to me” ?

If I receive an email from “ING Customer Service” addressed “to me” I will gladly open the mail and click on the link included to verify my account number and password. But if I see that the email is addressed to “webmaster@…” instead of “ernst@…” I might ignore the email. Please be aware that there are two additional factors, the mail in the unified inbox does display the configured account name which can easily be overlooked, in the account inbox there is no indication which account is being shown when looking at the email.

That’s why K-9 displays “to me” only if the email is addressed to ernst@ :slight_smile:

You/I missed something: there are two email accounts, one for webmaster and one for ernst, now read my text once more.

The current behavior is perfectly fine for most users. “I could overlook which account a message was sent to, but I will always look at the recipient” is a weak argument. Especially since the recipient information comes from the email header and can easily be faked.

You could create an additional dummy identity per account to get the behavior you want. Use an email address like dummy@invalid for the new identity and rename “Initial identity” to whatever you want to have displayed.


To me this “to me” feature is an unnecessary. Creating dummy identities is not the answer to fix something that should not exist. One part of the problem is that information from the outgoing configuration (Sending Mail → Manage identities) is used to decorate the recipient details. (This makes me think that “Manage identies” should be a separate item in the account settings).

Comparing K-9 Mail with Samsung Email showed me why I get this unhappy feeling with K-9 Mail.

When I open an email addressed to Maureen and CC-ed to me in K-9 it shows that the email is addressed “to me” and Maureen. When I tap on the addresses it shows something else: to Maureen and cc “me” with my email address. This is incorrect presentation of the address details, it should have been Maureen, to me (or preferably the name or email address of the recipient).

The way Samsung Email presents the address details is not perfect but more usable. When I open the same email in Samsung Email it shows the senders name and the text “to 2 recipients”. (In other cases this text is not shown, no information like “to me”.) On the same line a button labelled “Details” expands the address section to show “From …”, “To …” and “Cc …” using names only on separate lines. Tapping on the name brings up a popup menu, the top line showing the full email address for the name.

Until now I have not understood what the benefit is to place “to me” on the on a separate line under the sender’s name. At this space preferably the “to:” address should be placed, "alternatively nothing if the to: address matches an identity (in a seperate configuration item in the account setting menu).