Yahoo Mail isn’t just insecure, it’s also hard to leave

Yahoo Mail isn’t just insecure, it’s also hard to leave
Credit: dennizn /

Yahoo has been receiving plenty of bad press lately: Last month, it was revealed that a massive breach saw 500 million users’ data being affected; last week, the company was found to be scanning users’ emails and handing that information over to US intelligence agencies.

It’s only natural then, that people will want to switch to other service providers. And that’s a lot of people: Yahoo is still the 6th most visited site in the world, after Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu and Wikipedia.

The trouble is, moving away from Yahoo Mail is unnecessarily harder than it has to be. According to the Associated Press, the service disabled a feature to forward all your incoming messages to a different address earlier this month.

That means that you’ll still have to open your Yahoo inbox every time you want to check if people are still writing to your old address. It’s possible that this could pose enough inconvenience to make some users consider sticking with the service.

The only way Automatic forwarding works is if you’d set it up prior to the feature being disabled recently. Yahoo noted on its help site that it’s ‘currently under development,’ which is rather absurd given that it’s a basic feature offered by just about every email service under the sun, and that it works just fine for some Yahoo users.

What’s more, TechCrunch noted that British Telecoms, which offers its customers Yahoo Mail-based inboxes, also doesn’t allow email forwarding or even an option to delete your account.

It isn’t clear what Yahoo’s trying to pull here, or if it’s genuinely having trouble forwarding users’ emails – in which case, it has a lot to worry about.

If you’re stuck with Yahoo Mail but want to switch, you can use this tip that Sydney-based Merissa Silk shared with AP: Set up an out-of-office autoresponse message on your Yahoo account that includes your new email address.

The situation reminds me of that haunting lyric from Eagles’ 1976 smash hit ‘Hotel California‘:

‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.’

Update 2: On October 14, Yahoo re-enabled its automatic email forwarding feature:

As of today, auto-forward is enabled again for all Mail users. We apologize for the interruption.

Why the pause? Over the past year, Yahoo Mail has been upgrading its platform. This has allowed us to bring a better search experience to Yahoo Mail, add multiple account support, and improve performance as we quickly scale this new system globally. The feature was temporarily disabled as part of this process.

Update: A Yahoo spokesperson said the automatic email forwarding feature is under maintenance:

We’re working to get auto-forward back up and running as soon as possible because we know how useful it can be to our users. The feature was temporary disabled as part of previously planned maintenance to improve its functionality between a user’s various accounts. Users can expect an update to the auto-forward functionality soon. In the meantime, we continue to support multiple account management.

Amid Breach Talk, Some Yahoo Users Finding It Hard To Exit on Associated Press

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