Yahoo Mail drops automatic email forwarding option for free users

Yahoo Mail owner Verizon announced this week that free users of the Yahoo Mail service will soon be unable to use automatic email forwarding options. The company will drop the feature for free accounts entirely on January 1, 2021.

Mail forwarding allows users to forward incoming emails automatically to another account; this can be useful to get emails listed in another email account, e.g. when Yahoo Mail is not the primary account of the user, or if Yahoo Mail is not used actively anymore but some email is important enough to be forwarded.

Yahoo notes on a support page:

Beginning January 1, 2021, automatic forwarding of emails from your Yahoo inbox to a third party email account will no longer be a feature of free Yahoo Mail accounts. Upgrade to Yahoo Mail Pro or subscribe to Access + Forwarding to use the auto forwarding feature at this time.

Starting January 1, 2021, Yahoo Mail will stop forwarding emails to any account. The emails remain in the Yahoo inbox and can be accessed from there, but the option to have these emails forwarded automatically will not be available anymore at that point.

yahoo mail email forwarding dropped

Paying Yahoo Mail customers are unaffected by the change and can continue to use email forwarding just like before.

Yahoo's reason for removing the feature from free accounts is security, according to the support page.

We regularly evaluate our products and services against current security standards and have decided to remove this feature to help ensure free Yahoo Mail accounts remain secure. The change will help us focus on building the best new features and experiences for our Yahoo Mail users.

Email forwarding can be -- and was in the past -- abused to forward important emails, e.g. password resetting emails, pin verification emails, and others, to a hacker's account.

Free Yahoo Mail users who rely on email forwarding are asked to upgrade their accounts to Yahoo Mail Pro or subscribe to Access + Forwarding. Yahoo Mail Pro is available for €3.49 per month giving customers an ad-free environment, better performance, and auto-forwarding among other options.

There are secure alternatives to Yahoo Mail, or other free or paid email services such as Gmail or Outlook. Swiss-based ProtonMail offers paid accounts for 4€ per month, Germany-based Posteo accounts start at 1€ per month, and Tutanota, also Germany-based, accounts start at €1 per month as well.

Yahoo Mail users can check Settings > More Settings > Mailboxes > [primary mailbox account] > Forwarding > Forwarding address to check whether forwarding is enabled.

Now You: Which email provided do you use currently, and why?

Yahoo Mail drops email forwarding option for free users
Article Name
Yahoo Mail drops email forwarding option for free users
Yahoo Mail owner Verizon announced this week that free users of the Yahoo Mail service will soon be unable to use email forwarding options. The company will drop the feature for free accounts entirely on January 1, 2021.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. John Bilicki said on November 5, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Yahoo decided a few weeks ago to do user agent sniffing and with zero justification blocked browsers it claims aren’t supported. I’ve used Yahoo Mail since ~1998 and every few years they do something to screw up their services. I wrote my own email module for my platform circa 2015 though now with greater experience and the UA issue (and the email forwarding issue only further compounding it) I’m working harder than every to be able to permanently migrate to my owns services.

  2. yahoohater said on November 5, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Better have multiple non-yahoo mail accounts.
    The day you’ll be required to give them your phone number or no mail access is close.

    1. I want to die said on November 5, 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Am I missing something? Most mail services including yahoo require a phone number.

      1. ULBoom said on November 5, 2020 at 3:35 pm

        @ I want to die

        None of the three we use do. Unless it’s a phone service, I refuse to give any company my phone number. Phones can’t be private, they’re regulated differently than computers and can easily be linked to your other devices.

  3. Paul(us) said on November 5, 2020 at 8:41 am

    What I do not understand is why does Yahoo has two set’s software available?
    I ask this because when you’re paying for the forwarding the forwarding (or having any outher account where you pay for) seems to be again, secure enough according Yahoo?

    I advise protonmail. Much more secure than any outher?

  4. Stv said on November 5, 2020 at 8:48 am


    – Tutanota and ProtonMail offer free accounts like gmail and they can be upgraded.

    – Posteo is not free.

  5. awd said on November 5, 2020 at 9:22 am

    funny thing.. a neighbour asked me how to forward an email last night. and it turns out she uses yahoo..

    anyhow.. that sounds to me that it’s not forwarding that’s going kaput but automatic forwarding… there is a big difference.

  6. ShintoPlasm said on November 5, 2020 at 9:26 am

    FastMail, ProtonMail, even GSuite (Workspace) are better than this sorry excuse for a service provider…

    1. SR said on November 5, 2020 at 11:12 am

      @ShintoPlasm . . . Why are they better? Assuming you’re referring to features.

      I would never defend the company (Yahoo!), but I also use ProtonMail and GMail and am not aware of anything that makes them stand out as superior.

    2. Iron Heart said on November 5, 2020 at 12:10 pm


      Yeah, ProtonMail…

      Helping the state spy on users without even needing a valid court order. Don’t get me wrong, criminals must be persecuted, but surveillance without having a valid court order at hand is not OK.

      1. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2020 at 9:07 pm

        “Accused of”. I don’t even need to read your link to know it’s a click-bait and conspiracy site.

      2. GrownUpMillenial said on November 5, 2020 at 9:47 pm

        That @Iron Heart is false.

        This is the Protonmail response to that blog

      3. 01101001b said on November 6, 2020 at 12:13 am

        @Iron Heart _”Helping the state spy on users without even needing a valid court order.”_
        Well, that’s not true regading ProtonMail’s case, but hey! does it matter? Being accused equals being guilty nowadays, right? :rolleyes:
        Protect users’ privacy and cover criminals are quite different things… as you yourself rightly pointed out.

      4. Iron Heart said on November 6, 2020 at 8:34 am

        @Clairvaux, GrownUpMillenial, 01101001b

        ProtonMail is headquartered in Switzerland, therefore it has to comply with Swiss local surveillance laws; well, unless you want to imply that they are operating in Switzerland illegally, which is extremely likely for a service as prominent as ProtonMail (haha).

        I don’t want to destroy any LaLaLand fantasy some of you might still hold, and I also never expected ProtonMail to say “Yes, we do it!” when accused of doing it, however it is clear as day that they must comply with Swiss law. If you think they don’t have to, be my collective guest.

        @Clairvaux, I know that it is currently en vogue to throw the word “conspiracy” around, but like most you obviously don’t understand what it means. ProtonMail is not accused of some dark business in the night here, they are “accused” of complying with existing local Swiss surveillance laws. Again, if you believe that they operate in Switzerland illegally, breaking the law on a regular basis, be my guest, I just don’t think it makes any sense.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on November 6, 2020 at 10:50 am

        That argument can be made for any service of its kind in existence, unless you are operating from outer space.

      6. Iron Heart said on November 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

        @Martin Brinkmann

        Well, yes, every service has to comply with the laws of the country it is headquartered in. How is that even a question? That being said, Switzerland is not exactly the most privacy-friendly country out there.

    3. ULBoom said on November 5, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      I wouldn’t touch Proton Anything.

      Had their mail, then VPN for a few years, starting just after they first appeared. They started out fine, then turned to scum, uploading user crash data with no notice and no opt out, refusing to end subscriptions without a reason they considered good, holding mail hostage, the list goes on.

      For a period, their free email was a more prodigious spam collector than GMail!

      Plus, their VPN, which started out reasonably fast became progressively more sluggish.

      They’re way, way too expensive. Don’t use services that auto renew; they exist on receivables and usually are very difficult to drop.

      Then there’s financing by gov’t security organizations.

  7. Henk said on November 5, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Yahoo? Ah yes, wasn’t that the same as RocketMail, back in the 1990s? Seems that nowadays, the latter has become even safer than their Yahoo clone: for RocketMail simply doesn’t allow any of this so-called “e-mail messaging” nonsense anymore.

    BTW, talking about the unstoppable march of progress, I also hear rumors that FidoNet is considering the introduction of more sophisticated password procedures for their Bulletin Board Services. Well, I sure hope they will remain as user-friendly as they’ve always been!

    Really, it seems that whether we like it or not, modern times are encroaching upon us. Just yesterday, someone warned me I better save a backup of my Geocities account. So if you’ll excuse me, I will now hurry and look into that.

  8. Anonymous said on November 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Does anyone know here know how to download (or otherwise back up) a Yahoo! Mail account on a Mac — with or without a mail client app?

    Also, will such backing up also pull past emails that are stored in the account, or only new ones?


    1. GrownUpMillenial said on November 5, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      Sure, you can use Thunderbird to store all you e-mails locally

      This is a how to from Thunderbird:

    2. Anonymous said on November 6, 2020 at 5:19 am

      Add your account in a mail client and set it up as POP.This will download everything to be stored locally on computer.But make sure delete from server setting isn’t enabled.

      1. Karol said on November 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

        I think IMAP is better to download all emails from all folders. Then copy or move the downloaded folders to a local folder.

  9. owl said on November 5, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Now You: Which email provided do you use currently, and why?

    For “official business” use, the “unique domain” specified by the place of employment is used.
    However, for private use, the following “free mail” is the main.
    They are used properly according to the other party (service genre, etc.) and “confidentiality of private communication”, and I also obtain “multiple email addresses”.
    To manage so many email addresses, I use the email client “Thunderbird”
    ● Microsoft(
    ● Apple(
    ● Google(
    ● Zoho Mail(
    ● Vivaldi Mail(
    ● Tutanota(
    ● ProtonMail(

    “Tutanota” automatically encrypts emails end-to-end. The target of the encryption is the body, subject, attachment, sender / recipient name of the e-mail.
    The free plan has a storage capacity of 1 GB and allows sending up to 100 emails per hour.
    Tutanota has been blocked in Egypt since October 2019 and in Russia since February 2020.
    “ProtonMail” uses “end-to-end encryption” that combines both public key cryptography and symmetric key cryptography as an encryption method.
    The RSA private and public keys are automatically generated when the user registers for an account.
    ProtonMail’s server stores the user’s private and public keys, which are encrypted. Since the decryption is done on the client side, there is no way for the server side to know the private key.
    ProtonMail does not use third-party servers, all servers are located in Lausanne and Attinghausen in Switzerland and operate only under Swiss law.

    Problems with “free mail”:
    ● Due to a rush of access, even if the failure, such as a server is received disappears mail or delay down occurs, the provider does not assume any responsibility.
    ● Some businesses do not fully disclose their corporate name and other corporate information.
    ● The system administrator of the company that provides free mail can peep at the user’s mail, and there is a risk of information leakage such as personal communication and confidentiality of related parties.
    ● It is possible to analyze user emails and collect activities, and there are concerns that the contents of emails may be searched by the business operator.
    ● There are phishing sites that attempt to illegally obtain free email IDs and passwords.
    ● After the account is abolished, another user may be able to acquire an account with the same name, and if the sender regularly delivers emails, it will be revealed that he / she is a member there.
    ● Depending on the specifications of the reminder function, there is a high risk that personal information such as the address, name, and telephone number registered at the sender will be leaked.

    1. owl said on November 5, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Problems with “free mail”:
      ● Due to a rush of access, even if the failure, such as a server is received disappears mail or delay down occurs, the provider does not assume any responsibility.
      In this case, I experienced several times with:
      Yahoo! Mail (@, a domain unique to Japan), was delayed for several hours or lost mail.!%E3%83%A1%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB#%E6%AD%B4%E5%8F%B2
      I have experienced several hours of delay at Microsoft (@, @, @
      As a result, I stopped using “Yahoo! Mail,” which causes mail to disappear, and stopped using Microsoft services that cause delays in important private communications.
      “Tutanota” is the main personal communication-tool that requires confidentiality.

      1. owl said on November 5, 2020 at 11:27 pm

        Sentence correction:
        Wrong: and stopped using Microsoft services that cause delays in important private communications.
        Correct: and for important private communications, I have stopped using Microsoft services that cause delays.

  10. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2020 at 11:36 am

    I use Gmail as my main provider (several accounts), my ISP’s email (several accounts as well), a free account provided by the post office of my country (almost never used), and a Tutanota free account registered and exclusively used through Tor, for extreme privacy.

    I manage all my email through an email client (Microsoft Outlook 2003), except Tutanota, which is not compatible with third-party email clients.

    Central to my email system are several intermediate accounts at alias providers and remailers, which protect me against spam, and also protect my privacy : Spamex (paid), 33 Mail (free) and Anonaddy (paid, a free plan is also available).

    I could not recommend enough the following setup : whatever your main email provider (needs vary, and may point to different providers) :

    – Use unique, long and random passwords for each account you open on the internet (which means using a password manager) ;

    – Use unique email addresses for each online account, provided by an alias and remailing service, redirecting to your main address ;

    – Only use your “real” email, with your name in it, with physical persons you know and trust.

    That’s what I do, and it provides me with great safety, privacy and peace of mind.

    1. I want to die said on November 5, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah.. I’ve only done one of those things. I’m fuqqed

  11. Gerold Manders said on November 5, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    My own mail server and the mail server provided to me by my website host prove to be more reliable. Mainly I use the forwarding functionality available at the my host’s server. First their spam filters go over the incoming mail, then forwarded to my mail server where the incoming mail is spam filtered again (2 different systems) an finally in my mail client, which has a “trained” bayesan spam filter.

    This practically removes any incoming spam message. Yes, because of the forwarding sending mail to my account takes longer, but the extra filter is worth it.

    Have a similar setup created for my Gmail, Hotmail and Proton mail accounts. GMail and Hotmail (nowadays I should say: are pretty slow with forwarding mail, with their free accounts at least. While both are reliable, I don’t care enough to pay for them. All the features they added and think are worth money, those are actually off-putting to me. Especially GMail with the way how they distribute mail into mail folders. I hate their folder structure and management of those with a passion.

    Anyway, having my own mail server is not simple or even remotely fun to maintain, but sure gives me a lot of flexibility. Which makes it worth it.

  12. kreela said on November 5, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I use Fastmail and am willing to pay for support, no ads, and privacy. I chose Fastmail because clients or friends can easily remember that email address. If you deal with older, forgetful people, simple email addresses are preferred. Protonmail, vivaldi, tutanova, runbox (was great, but the email address?) are terrible names to remember.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on November 5, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      @kreela – another option would be to set up your own custom domain, so your email address can travel with you forever from provider to provider.

      1. Daslondon said on November 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        ShintoPlasm, absolutely right (custom domain)! Need only cost around £15/€17/$20 per year. Worth every penny/cent.

    2. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      @ Kreela

      “Protonmail, vivaldi, tutanova, runbox (was great, but the email address?) are terrible names to remember.”

      Especially since Tutanova is actually Tutanota. So you find Yahoo easy to remember ? Gmail easy to remember ?

      I don’t understand this complaint about the names of email providers. Every name is different. Do you remember your own name ? Do you remember your friends’ names ? I guess you don’t ask them to change names because they are difficult to remember. You just learn them once and for all.

      Then, there’s this silly notion that an email provider needs to have “mail” in its name, but guess what… Yahoo doesn’t… AOL doesn’t… and people never complain that they can’t remember Yahoo.

      If your argument is that you prefer a huge provider because it has a well-known brand, fine. But don’t pretend that the other names are difficult to remember. They are not.

      Also, you’re not supposed to remember an email address. You’re supposed to copy/paste it, reply to it, and so on. You should never have to write it down. All right, make that almost never.

      Do you complain that phone numbers are difficult to remember ? And though, they are much more difficult to remember than,, or any provider out there.

  13. I want to die said on November 5, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Martin, You should revise the title with emphases on ‘automatic email forwarding’. I are dumb, me thought they remove cc/bc forwarding.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 6, 2020 at 5:57 am


  14. ULBoom said on November 5, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Yeah, sure. Back when Yahoo specialized in leaking data to most everyone on Earth, I blocked any emails sent through them and let friends know why. Most dropped Yahoo mail.

    Even now, if I accidentally land on a Yahoo page, it’s closed and cookies cleared immediately. It’s not like Verizon’s any more trustworthy. They do continue to be stupid expensive for mobile.

    Verizon paid far too much for Yahoo, reflected in the loopy subscription prices they want for Yahoo mail.

    There are plenty of excellent subscription mail services with low basic rates. Some have been mentioned, I’ll add, been a subscriber for years, good service.

    Some services don’t work with desktop clients, not a bad thing, clients can be a privacy issue but logging in and out constantly to a we based app is annoying.

  15. Anonymous said on November 5, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Continuation of the inevitable decline and ultimate shuttering of Yahoo.

    A brief outline of missed opportunities and misguided decisions;

  16. Mothy said on November 5, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Never used Yahoo email. Was using Gmail for years but about a year and half ago switched to Protonmail for a more privacy oriented mail service and to get away from Five Eyes surveillance.

  17. Dirgster said on November 5, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Martin, thanks for your informative and appreciated newsletters!
    My ISP is AT&T that provides Yahoo Webmail for its subscribers. I have Microsoft Office 365 installed and access my Yahoo e-mail through Outlook 2016. On January 1, 2021, will I still be able to receive my e-mail in Outlook, or will Yahoo not forward my mail to Outlook anymore because of the “automatic email forwarding options”?

    1. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2020 at 8:47 pm

      Microsoft Outlook is an email client, not an email provider, so you don’t fall under the case of forwarding. If your Outlook is set to retrieve your Yahoo mail through IMAP or POP, it will continue to work.

      Bear in mind that Microsoft is a different beast : it’s an email provider, just as Yahoo or Gmail. Silly branding by Microsoft.

      1. Dirgster said on November 6, 2020 at 8:43 pm

        Thanks very much for your reply, Clairvaux! I would hat to part with MS Outlook since it’s such a useful e-mail app.

  18. seeprime said on November 5, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Verizon is trying to recoup the money they lost when they purchased Yahoo!

    Perhaps Martin, or an associate at ghacks, could offer a short tutorial on what to do to set up your own mail sever, fixed IP address, etc. That would be cool.

  19. Anonymous said on November 6, 2020 at 12:18 am

    They dropped this long time ago on my account. I switched to Yandex.

  20. Bobby Phoenix said on November 6, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Is automatic forwarding the same as using a different email provider to pull the emails? Like say I have Outlook set up, and I have Yahoo added in Outlook’s settings to check Yahoo mail, and bring it to Outlook, and then delete the email off the Yahoo server. Is this affected?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 6, 2020 at 5:57 am

      No this is not affected, as Outlook uses the same methodology that desktop email clients use to work with email accounts.

      1. Bobby Phoenix said on November 6, 2020 at 7:29 pm

        Thank you.

  21. owl said on November 6, 2020 at 4:01 am

    I learned about Runbox and Fastmail through “Comments” in this topic.
    I was interested in “Runbox” and added a trial account (30 days) to my email client “Thunderbird”.
    Runbox is not Multilingual support, but it can be into the native language with the Thunderbird.

  22. DrMPippik said on November 6, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Since we can no longer access a Yahoo Mail account from multiple devices, our family has deleted all our accounts. No great loss, because Yahoo’s spam filtering was poor.

  23. Terry Hollett said on November 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Yahoo has made it harder to access emails through programs like Thunderbird. Enough is enough. I’ve already closed my account.

  24. Trey said on November 7, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Yahoo seems to be a sinking ship. Now would probably be a good time to migrate away.

    For 20 years I ran my own mail server. It got to be a major pain as well as dealing with getting blacklisted because others on the IP Block (like at Digital Ocean) are spammers and you get lumped in.

    Anyway, migrated my domains to Fastmail. I find what they offer well worth paying for.

  25. Phil Greggor said on November 10, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Another great alternative to Yahoomail or Gmail, would be Mailfence A very serious Belgian company, with its servers located in Brussels, belgium, protected by one of the best jurisdictions in the world. Fully encrypted emails, you have total control over your data. Also, very user-friendly platform, all of my employees love it. I have been using it for 4 years now.

  26. daslondon said on November 10, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    @Martin, do you (or anyone else) know how to find out what “Access + Forwarding” is and how to (potentially) subscribe to it?
    The link — or what look like one — in the notification email from Yahoo about this, which I received today, does not work.

    Yahoo Mail and related services have been on a downward trend for years, regardless of any changes to the UI and and claims for ‘improvements’.

    It’s just as well Yahoo has never been my main email account provider. I use(d) it mainly to register for ‘dodgy’ websites and newsletters, and only gave it out occasionally to correspondents as my emergency address in case of a problem with my normal one, which I did occasionally have before I switched to

    After abandoning Yahoo Groups it recently announced abandoning the group mail facility, and now this. Pathetic.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 10, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      I don’t know, the links that Yahoo provided don’t work.

  27. Stefano said on December 22, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Luckily I use Yahoo Mail Japan. No limitations like this, also a sane light weight webmail UI.

  28. TonyNoYahoo said on January 19, 2021 at 4:14 pm


    At first I was freaking out that I would have to pay to forward emails since we switched our main email address to a google account and I forwarded our yahoo account to the google account… and still use the yahoo account name to this day.

    But I just set the yahoo account in my phone to pull the mail, and if I do get anything I need to respond from, I can manually forward it, or respond from my phone. (Or log in if the need arise)

    So, still going to save the $3.49 x 12 = $41.88/yr

    I want to call BS on this decision, but also kindof understand that if there are many many accounts that are not generating any income for them and it’s just a pure loss, this does make up for some of it. Plus, if people stop using the accounts they can be deleted.

  29. George said on February 10, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Guys, I had my yahoo mail set up in Windows Live Mail and for the past 2 days I cannot get my emails from yahoo via WLM. Do I have to pay the yahoo subscription or do I need to change something in the outgoing and incoming server preferences?

    1. Gary Lipari said on April 28, 2021 at 1:59 am

      George, same question/issue here…
      I am guessing (could be hazardous nowadays) that this “dropping of email automatic forwarding” for free users might be the same as dropping “POP forwarding ” to email software such as WLM, etc. I also reentered POP and SMTP server settings in window live mail (,
      but to no avail; And when attempted the yahoo “upgrade”, found out upgrade was not “available” for my email address.?

  30. Beth Daughtrey said on April 27, 2021 at 1:55 am

    I just bought their silly Access Plus Forwarding service but nowhere does it tell me how to set it up! Will I EVER escape this Yahoo nightmare???

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