Set up a recovery phone number or email address

Losing access to your emails, documents, and photos can be frustrating. To make sure you can get back into your account quickly, easily, and securely in the future, add password recovery options.

You don't have to provide a recovery email address or phone number, but having one makes it easier for you to regain access to your account if you forget your password or are locked out.

If you've lost access to your account, you can try to regain access through our account recovery form.

Recovery phone

Add or edit a recovery phone number
  1. Sign in to My Account.
  2. In the "Personal info & privacy" section, select Your personal info. 
  3. Choose Phone. 
  4. If adding a phone number, select Add Recovery Phone.
    Or, if editing a phone number, select edit Edit.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions.
Note: You must use a mobile phone with text messaging turned on.
Ways we will use your mobile phone number

We'll use your recovery number only to ensure the security of your account. Here are some ways we'll use it:

  • To challenge people if they try to get into your account without your permission
  • To send you a verification code so you can get into your account if you ever lose access
  • To provide an alternate way for you to verify that you own an account
  • To alert you to possible threats to your account's security (for example, when your password is changed)
Ways we won't use your mobile phone number

Unless you make a specific request, or provide your mobile phone number to us in a different way, we won't use it for anything other than protecting your account. Unless you tell us to, we'll never:

  • Sell your phone number to other companies or organizations
  • Call you for marketing purposes
  • Publish your phone number online
Why mobile phones are more secure

Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.

Recovery email

Add or edit a recovery email
  1. Sign in to My Account.
  2. In the "Personal info & privacy" section, select Your personal info. 
  3. Choose Email. 
  4. Next to Recovery email, select Edit.
  5. Add your recovery email address.
  6. Select Done.
Which email to use

Your recovery address should be an email address that you use regularly.

If you use Gmail, you might have added a recovery email address to your account when you first signed up.

If you don't use Gmail, your password recovery address is the email address you used to sign up for your account (for example: myusername@yahoo.com).

Ways we’ll use your email
We'll use your recovery email address to communicate with you under these circumstances:
  • We need to confirm your username after you create an address
  • You can't sign in to Google
  • You've forgotten your password
  • You're about to run out of storage space
  • We need to alert you to any unusual activity involving your address
hc_author_kelly

Kaley is on the Accounts support team and author of this help page. Please leave suggestions below on how to improve her article.

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