Impact of changing a user's email address

This article describes the effects and consideration of changing a user's primary email address in various Google services. When an account is renamed, this change is reflected across Google Workspace. A renamed user keeps their Google Workspace data. Some data, such as Calendar events created before the renaming, will refer to the user's old name.

 

If a user instead needs an additional email address, create an email alias for the user instead of changing their username and primary email address. You can't change a user's name to an already existing name or email alias.

Options for changing an email 

Considerations for users changing their name, email address, or identity:  People might send messages to or share files with the old name or address. Also, after you update a user’s identity, the old name and address remains visible in previous emails and contacts. Some options for transitioning to a new user name or address: 
  • Temporarily keep the old address as an alias. When people send a message, they see the the user's new name but also both the new and old address to choose from. The user can set up a filter in Gmail to tag messages sent to their old address, and set up an autoreply notifying people of their new name/address if needed. 

  • Change the user's name and address, and then delete the old address. You can create a temporary user account for the old address that forwards messages to the user’s new address. Allow user to manage messages sent to old address and respond as need.

  • Delete the old address. Messages and invitations will bounce back to the sender with the alert that the user doesn’t exist.  

Email address changes and apps 

Gmail

  • When you change a user's primary email address, Google Workspace retains the old address as an email alias for the user, to ensure continuous mail delivery. If you want to re-use the old address, you first need to delete the email alias
  • Users retain access to all mail received under the previous name.
  • Users need to create new Gmail signatures for their new primary email address.
  • Users don't receive any returned read receipts for messages sent from the old address.
  • Users need to update their Gmail filters to use the new primary email address.
It can take up to 24 hours for email alias changes (such as removal of an old alias, or addition of a new alias) to be reflected throughout the system.

Calendar

  • Events created before the user or group rename show the old address, while events created after the rename display the new address.

Contacts

 When you change a user’s name and/or email address, here’s how Contacts are updated for other users in your Google Workspace organization. The update behavior varies for the different subcategories of Contacts: Contacts, Directory, and Other contacts:

Contacts menu

Contacts—Must be updated manually. Otherwise, they will continue to show the user's old name and email address.  

Directory—Updated automatically. Names are updated immediately. Email addresses are updated immediately only if you also remove the old email address as an alias. If you leave the old email address as an alias, it will continue to appear in the Directory but should be updated to the new email address within 2-3 days.

Other contacts—Must be updated manually. If you send an email to a contact's new address, the new address is automatically added to Other contacts, but their old address also remains until you delete it. 

How autocomplete is affected by a name or email change

After you change a user's name or email address, the effect on autocomplete within your organization depends on whether you keep the old email address as an alias:

  • Old address kept as an alias: both the old and new address will appear as autocomplete options for other users (for example when choosing the recipient of a new message in Gmail).
  • Old address not kept as an alias: the old address won't appear as an autocomplete option for other users, unless they have the old address in their Contacts or Other contacts (for example if they haven't manually removed the old address).

Drive

  • Documents owned by the user become owned by the new username.
  • If a user has multiple valid email addresses—When the user is given access to a file or folder, the email address listed is the one the sharer used when they granted that user access. If that address is no longer valid, the user's current primary address is shown instead.
  • The user's permissions on shared documents remain the same. 

Google Chat & classic Hangouts

Google Chat: Changing the primary username will affect chat history searches in Gmail. If you change the primary username, Gmail chat history search will not find the old chat history in searches for the new username.

Note: Old data won't be deleted but when searching with new email address, old chats won't appear.

Other users previously associated with the renamed user automatically see the new username in their chat lists and are able to chat with the renamed user. These other users will no longer see the old username but can still find it via autocomplete. If they invite the older name to chat, it is added to their list but without an icon. No new chat conversations with this name are allowed.

Classic Hangouts: Users may see old email addresses in autocomplete when using classic Hangouts. However, they won't be able to start new conversations with the old email addresses.

Mobile devices, sync tools, and IMAP connections

The effects depend upon the behavior of the client. If the client lets you update the login for the account, your access to Google Workspace should continue. If the client doesn't let you change your login, you'll need to delete the old account and add a new one with the new name.

For Android devices with a work profile–The user’s work profile and managed apps are removed. The user must create a new work profile with their new username and reinstall the managed apps. See “Set up an existing device” in Set up an Android device with a ​Google Workspace​ or Cloud Identity account.

Google Workspace Sync for Microsoft Outlook (GWSMO)–If you change a user's username, the user must create a new profile. See Create or replace your profile.

Classroom

  • Teacher and Administrator class ownerships remain the same after a name change, with the new name replacing the old name anywhere it was previously displayed. All documents are owned by the new username, but past documents with a username in the title are not changed to include the new username.

  • Student class memberships remain the same after a name change. All documents are owned by the new username, but past assignments with a username in the document title are not changed to include the new username.

Google Workspace Marketplace and App Engine apps

The user must reinstall any Google Workspace Marketplace or App Engine apps that use OAuth or OpenID to continue using them after a username change. If an app saves data based on the domain name or the user's email address, that data is lost after the change.

Google Play Developer account

If a Google Play Developer account is associated with a user account name you want to change to use a new domain, note that the Developer account will be orphaned after making the change. To maintain access to the apps in the previous Google Play Developer account, you need to create a new Google Play Developer account using your new user account name and request an applications transfer for apps in the previous account.

Google Voice

The user's Google Voice number and voice history will be associated with the new username.

Vault

Any searches or retention policies that are based on filters of the form "from:user@old_domain" or "to:user@old_domain" need to be recreated.

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