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How do I recover my Gmail account?

As part of the hassle of dealing with multiple online accounts, there comes a time when you might forget a password. In particular, there's the problem of forgetting an important password, like the one for your Google and Gmail accounts. If this happens to you, then you'll have to recover that account manually.




10 minutes

What You Need

  • Desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone with internet access

  • Google account

But don't stress out. Recovering a Google and Gmail account is quite easy. Here's a look at how. Note that our guide will cover what to do if you forgot your password, if you forgot your email address, and how to go about recovering an account you can't sign into at all or recover.

The Google account recovery welcome back screen.
screenshot/Anita George / Digital Trends

I forgot my Gmail password

The most common recovery problem with Gmail accounts is forgetting your password. It happens to the best of us, and getting that password back is quite an easy task. Here's how.

Step 1: First, you'll want to visit this Google webpage. It's the account recovery webpage. Enter your email address.

Step 2: After you enter your email address, Google will prompt you to enter in your last remembered password. If you don't remember, select the Try another way link at the bottom.

Step 3: Google will then send you a verification code to the phone number you signed up with or another email address that is associated with your Gmail account.

Step 4: A message with the verification code will be sent to your phone or associated email address. Enter the code in the box on the Google account recovery page and select Next.

Step 5: On the Welcome Back screen, you can either reset your password by selecting Update password or choose Continue to go to your Google account dashboard where you can then select the Gmail account icon to view your Gmail account inbox.

A Gmail account recover page with a phone number field filled in.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I need to recover my Google account

A second instance of recovering your Gmail or Google account involves both forgetting your password as well as your email address. This is a terrible situation, for sure, but Google has some steps you can follow if this happens to you.

Step 1: First up, visit the Google account recovery help page.

Navigate to the section titled Forgot the email address you use to sign in. Then select the Follow these steps blue hyperlink.

Step 2: From there, enter in your phone number or alternate email address that you set up when you first signed up for Gmail or Google. You'll also have to enter the full name of your account (first and last name). Again, Google will send you a code to verify it's you getting into the account. Enter the code when prompted.

Step 3: Google will prompt you with a list of accounts that it thinks belong to you. Choose your account, and follow the steps on the screen. You'll be able to reset your password, just like we describe in the section above.

Step 4: In some cases, Google might also prompt you to answer as many questions as possible to recover your account. Choose the right questions and answer them, and you'll be able to reset the password.

A Google account recover page listing options of why a user can't sign in.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I can't sign into my Google account at all

The absolute worst-case scenario is when you can't sign in to your Gmail or Google account at all. If this happens to you, and none of our above methods work, then you might think you're doomed. But don't worry — Google has a support page that might help.

Step 1: First up, visit this Can't sign in to your Google Account page. From there, choose one of the issues you're facing. There will be many listed.

Step 2: Follow the directions listed for each result. There might be additional steps you might have to take. Most of them involve verifying your identity with your phone number or answering questions.

If we don't have the solution for you, then check out Google's support page, for more advice.

You might also want to check out our other related guides, such as how to recover deleted messages on an iPhone or iPad.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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