We have all been in a position where we are wanting a free trial, or downloading a program when it happens… they ask us to give them our email. How do we know they aren’t going to send us unwanted junk mail (Oh, we know they will), or something worse? It’s time to start leveraging a temporary email hack to avoid these risky circumstances.
Temporary Email is a tool that will let you borrow a throw-away email account for a few minutes so you don’t have to use your personal email.
Many of us may already keep separate “junk email” accounts that we would probably use in these circumstances, but I am confident you will never use one again after you understand how powerful a temporary email tool can be.
In this article we will take a look at the following:
- What Is Temporary Email?
- Why Use Temporary Email?
- Is Temporary Email Safe?
- Quick Guide To Using Temporary Email
- Our Recommended Temporary Email Tools
Be sure to also check out our in-depth guide to cleaning up your gmail inbox here for more ways to tame your inbox and keep it clean!
What is Temporary Email?
To put it simply, think of this like a burner phone, but for your email. It’ll provide a one-time use email account, you take care of business, then discard the account.
There are many different websites and apps that offer temp email services, but the experience will be similar for most. They will provide you with a randomly generated email address and an interface that will resemble an email inbox like you’d see with Gmail, AOL (is this still a thing?), or Yahoo.
The email address provided will usually (some services vary) be completely unique to you, will never have been used before, and will never be used again once you are done. You’re then able to copy that email address and use it as needed, and any emails received will show up in the interface provided, just like any other email tool.
Each provider of temporary email services will have varying limitations to how long the email account will remain active, so be sure to pay attention to this so that you’re not accidentally locked out of a temporary account! We will cover this parameter a little more with our recommended tools at the end of this article.
Why Use Temporary Email?
While there are a lot of possible uses for this, the three key advantages can be summarized as reducing email spam, increasing your online security, and the ability to try something before you commit.
Reducing spam and unwanted email is the most obvious benefit. No longer will you have to scour through the wall of text at the bottom of a junk message to try and locate the ‘unsubscribe’ link. Of course, that’s assuming the sender of the junk message honors your request to be removed from their list. There’s no need to play this game when you never give out your real email!
You might be wondering how using a temporary email account can increase your online security, since the whole point is that it’s anonymous and has no ties to you, right? Well, that’s just it. Using a temporary email account reduces your digital footprint and means that your real information is in the hands of fewer people.
You’ve undoubtedly seen news headlines that read something like “Data breach at X Company: All user data leaked.” Breaches are inevitable, and Email addresses are among the most common data leaked. The fewer times you give your real one out, the fewer opportunities bad actors will have to make use of it.
We’ve all had those moments where we come across a site that offers something that we want, and all they ask for in exchange is our email. It seems like a fair trade… except that you haven’t even had the chance to try out what they’re offering yet! So why not take it for a test run, and try it before you commit with your real email?
The next time this happens, start off with a fake email account. If the site provides what you were seeking, then go ahead and sign up for real with your real email account, otherwise walk away and never worry about spam from that site.
Is Temporary Email Safe?
Yes! Well, mostly. Like most things in life, there are ways to use something seemingly harmless and make it harmful, so let’s go over a few things to do to make sure you stay safe and secure.
The whole point is to provide you a means to not have to give out your information, but this is not just limited to email. Many sites ask for things like your name, address, or phone number when registering. Don’t give these details out either! You’re already using a fake email account, so your other details should be fake as well.
It’s also important to stick to reputable providers of temporary email service. Most out there are trustworthy, but there are always going to be people with malicious intent trying to do things like install viruses. Check out our list below for some that we use regularly.
Most generated email services will permanently delete information in your temporary email account when it expires. That said, it’s worth assuming that they do have access to the data. You should never send or receive emails that may contain personal or sensitive data, period. Always assume that anything you do with your temporary email account can be seen by the provider, even if it’s probably rarely true.
These tips are probably overkill for most of us, but it’s important to stay sharp when it comes to security!
Quick Guide to Temporary Email
Here are the steps to use a temporary email service (10 Minute Mail):
- You come across a site that asks for an email address.
- Go to 10 Minute Mail and copy the temporary email that has been generated.
- Use this email address for the site that requires your email information.
- If the site requires you to verify your email, simply go back to 10 Minute Mail and click on the verification link within the email
- When finished, close the 10 Minute Mail window and you can go on with your day.
Yep, It’s just that simple! You borrow an email for a few minutes and never have to deal with it in the future. For a visual breakdown of these steps, check out the video at the beginning of the article.
Our Recommended Temporary Email Tools
These are our favorite temporary email sites and mobile apps and details about each:
Ten Minute Mail – By far our favorite tool on this list. It has a very simple to understand interface and will work in nearly all cases. Access to the inbox expires after 10 minutes, however you are able to reset the timer as much as needed to maintain access. The only drawback to this tool is that they only offer one domain, so if you get an error trying to use the address from this tool, try one of the others below.
Temp Mail – This tool is also pretty easy to use and functions much like Ten Minute Mail above. This tool offers the ability to make custom email addresses with multiple domains available, and is our go-to when we encounter a site that doesn’t accept our email address from Ten Minute Email above.
Guerrilla Mail – The best tool for advanced users that really know what they’re doing. Most of us will not need this tool, but I’ve included it just in case. Unlike the services above, email addresses on this tool are not completely unique and can be reused over time, although any messages will be deleted after 1 hour automatically. This is the only temporary email tool that allows you to send messages, however they will include your IP address in the message automatically to fight spammers. They also allow custom email addresses and offer multiple domains to choose from.
There are very few well-known and tested mobile apps available, so the only one we feel comfortable recommending at this time is Temp Mail for iOS and Android. It has a very simple interface, and offers some paid in-app features, though most of us will likely never need them. Keep this app handy to fight spam when you’re on the go!
It’s pretty easy to see how powerful these tools can be. You get to be more secure and reduce email spam all in one shot!
Please be sure to use these tools responsibly and reasonably! There are a growing number of companies that are catching onto these generated emails and are taking measures to ensure that you can’t sign up with one. Most of us are not bad actors trying to use temporary email with malicious intent, but it’s still important to not abuse the privilege.
Should you encounter a site that doesn’t allow the generated email address you provide, it’s worth trying a different temp email service. Quite often, you will luck out and the address from an alternative service will work.
Be sure to share this trick with your friends!