How to Reset Your Gmail Password
There’s never a bad time to change your Gmail password.
It seems that there’s a new data breach every week, and customers are constantly at risk of having their personal email accounts compromised. To make sure your private correspondence is private, it’s advisable to change your Gmail password regularly. Even if you do this, you may sometimes forget what your password is since you change it so much.
It’s great then that Gmail makes changing your password so simple, as long as you can remember what it is. If you can’t, you’re going to have to hope you can remember your recovery details.
How to reset Gmail password if you’ve forgotten your password
If you can’t remember your Gmail password and think you’ve tried every possible combination under the sun, it might be time to begrudgingly accept that you have to reset it if you ever want to access those precious emails ever again.
- Navigate to https://accounts.google.com/signin/recovery.
- Enter the email address that you’re trying to access and click ‘Forgot Password’.
- You will be prompted to enter the last password you remember using with this Google Account. Enter the password then click Next. Don’t worry if you get it wrong, it won’t lock your account.
- Request a verification code to your linked mobile phone number. This code will be sent to you via a text message sent or a call to the number linked to your account depending on which one you select.
- Enter this code into the field.
- You should be able to create a new password and will be prompted once it is successful.
If you no longer have access to that phone number, you’ll have to answer some other security questions. Google doesn’t ask you security questions like the name of your first pet. Instead, it relies on email and phone number recovery methods.
- Google will send your linked recovery email verification code. Enter this code into the field
Set Up Your Account for Sign In
If you can’t remember any of your security details, like your linked recovery email, or you no longer have access to your phone number, it’ll be incredibly difficult if not impossible to reset your password.
We recommend two things for the next time this happens. First, make sure you set up two-factor authentication, and that your email address is linked to a phone number that you will always use.
Second, invest in a good free or paid password manager that will keep your passwords secure and constantly accessible. That way, if you ever lose your password again, you will be able to find it in your password manager of choice.
Lastly, set up the backup codes function and store them somewhere safe. Google allows users to have 10 backup codes at one time. This is useful when you get locked out. If you lose the codes at any point, getting new ones will wipe out the old ones for added security.
How to reset Gmail password: Changing your password if you know your current password
If you already know your current password and are able to access your account, then resetting your password is a doddle.
Here’s how to change your password if you already know your current password.
- Sign in to myaccount.google.com.
- Under the heading ‘Security’, scroll down to the ‘Signing into Google’ section.
- Click ‘Password’, and enter your current password if prompted.
- Enter your new password and confirm the new password.
- Click ‘Change Password’, and you’re all done.
Unfortunately, a hacked Gmail account can be especially difficult to get into. This is because the interloper may have changed your contact information or backup email address.
With all of its security features, including 2FA, experience has taught us that a Gmail account is not impenetrable. Assuming your account was hacked, the password and contact information changed, and you are unable to access it, don’t panic. Google has a website for this.
The first thing you need to do (assuming you’ve already tried the password reset instructions above) is to visit the Recovery Tool website. Google will ask you a variety of questions you’ll like be able to answer since the account was yours.
Here are some other tips to help you get your account back using the Recovery Tool:
- Use a familiar device – Whether it’s a smartphone, a browser on a computer, or even a tablet, if you’ve used your Gmail account on that device, go back to that device for recovery.
- Capitalization & Punctuation – When answering the security questions, try capitalizing or putting letters in lower-case if you fail the first time. Google’s recovery answers are case sensitive which can make things especially difficult.
- Use your last password – Google will ask for the last password you used. If you don’t remember it, using any password you’ve used for that account should work based on experience.
- Your recovery email account – Google will ask you to add your recovery email where you can be reached. If possible, use the same recovery email as you did before the account was hacked.
Keep in mind that you can use this tool more than once. If you fail the first time, try again but with different versions of your security answers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I change my Gmail password?
Some security experts state that you should change your password every three months. You may wonder if that’s overkill, or if it’s legitimately urgent to change your account access credentials quarterly.
While it’s not a terrible idea, you don’t necessarily have to change your account password so often. But, you do need to do a few things to secure your account if you want to keep a password for a longer time period.
For starters, stop using the same password for every account. If one account gets hacked, all of them will. Use a unique password of fifteen or so characters, numbers, and letters, for ultimate security (perhaps create your own algorithm for each password so it’s easier to remember).
Next, keep all of your contact information up-to-date and check it frequently. The sole basis for updating your passwords often is that once a hacker is in your account, they won’t have access long. With notifications to backup email addresses, 2FA, and text alerts, you’ll be notified immediately anyway as long as your contact info is current.
I can’t get the 2FA code. What else can I do?
We have instructions above for recovering a Gmail account that can help you if you can’t get the 2FA code. Whether you’ve changed phone numbers or you just forgot your password, the account recovery tool will take you to answer your security questions.
It’s worth noting that if the account recovery tool doesn’t work, Google suggests creating an entirely new Gmail account. Unfortunately, you’ll need to update the new account on every external service you used the old one for (account logins, banking, etc.).
How can I contact Google?
Google does not have a support team to help with free accounts (in this case your Gmail account). So, it isn’t as simple as making a phone call for help with account recovery. This doesn’t mean you’re left completely in the wind of course.
Google provides two links for additional help signing in. The first is the help center, and the second is the recovery form. Although neither will get you to a live person, both can be helpful by giving you options for account recovery specific to your needs.
I don’t have my password, phone number, or backup email. Is there anything else I can do?
This is actually a really common question that requires some out-of-the-box thinking. The first thing to check is your devices (unless you can navigate through Google’s security questions including the exact date you created your account). Is the account still active on an old smartphone, laptop, or tablet? If you’re still logged in on another device you don’t use option, you can update the security settings.
Next, are you unable to access your backup email? Whether you’re using a Gmail account or another email client, go through the password reset process on that account and try to access it.
Surely there are other ways to get back into your account, but it may take some creativity on your part. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new Gmail account.