Avoid getting locked out of your Google Account
Follow these tips so you can still sign in to your Google Account or Gmail service if:
- You forget your password.
- Your phone is lost.
- There’s suspicious activity on your account.
Why recovery info & backups are so important
Your account has content that’s important to you, like emails, documents, photos, and Play purchases. Without updated recovery info and backups, you could lose everything that your account holds. To help keep your content available to you, follow these steps.
Step 1: Add or update recovery info
Recovery info is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t lose the ability to sign in. If you ever have trouble, we’ll use this info to help you get back in. We’ll also use it to tell you about suspicious activity on your account.
Learn more about how to add recovery info.
Step 2: Set up more ways to sign in
You can add more ways to sign in and prove you own your account.
You can also sign in with your phone instead of a password. If you forget your password, it’s helpful to have another way to sign in.
Store backup codes
If your phone is lost or broken, backup codes can help you get in to your account. You can download backup codes to a device or print and store them in a safe place.
Get codes from an app
You can get codes to sign in even if you can’t get text messages. Learn how to install the Google Authenticator app to get codes on your phone.
When you sign in from a new place, Google might ask you to take an extra step to check that it’s you. Follow these tips to be better prepared when you travel.
1. Update your recovery info
Make sure that you can still use your recovery phone number and email address. That way, we can help you get back into your account if you can’t sign in.
2. Carry your recovery phone
Your recovery phone can help you prove that you own an account. To use it, you’ll need mobile data or Wi-Fi.
Before you start traveling, sign in to your account on your recovery phone. Keep this phone with you when you travel.
3. Add more ways to sign in
Step 3: Make your account more secure
Use the tips below to help make sure only you can get in to your account.
Check your account’s security
Do a Security Checkup to review your security settings and activity.
Help protect your info & accounts
Criminals can use emails, messages, and phone calls to impersonate institutions, family members, or colleagues.
Don’t answer suspicious requests
- Never give out your passwords. Google will never ask for your password in an email, message, or phone call.
- Don’t reply to suspicious emails, texts, instant messages, webpages, or phone calls that ask for your personal or financial info.
- Don’t click links in emails, messages, webpages, or pop-ups from untrusted websites or senders.
Tip: In Gmail, you can point to links to see the address and make sure it’s what you expect.
Identify suspicious emails & settings
- Check if a Gmail message might be fake.
- See if the email address and the sender name match.
- Check your Gmail settings to make sure no one else can see your emails.
- If you get a suspicious email in Gmail, report it to help us stop similar emails in the future.
Criminals use fake websites and public Wi-Fi to steal personal info.
Check the website’s address
Criminals can create fake websites that look just like the real websites. Be careful if you followed a link from a message, email, or website that you don’t trust.
Before you enter personal info on a website, make sure that:
- The address in the address bar is correct.
- The address begins with "https" and not "http." The "s" means the website is more secure from snooping. It still might not be safe.
Don’t enter personal info on public Wi-Fi
Criminals can see info you send out when you use public Wi-Fi. If you’re on public Wi-Fi, don’t enter sensitive info like:
- Bank account numbers
- Security numbers
Choose a strong password for your home Wi-Fi
Some equipment might come with passwords for easy setup, which criminals could know.
If you set up Wi-Fi at home, follow the instructions from your internet service provider or router manufacturer to set your own password.
Learn more about creating a strong password.
Criminals look for easy ways to get into your accounts, like weak passwords, passwords shared across accounts, or unlocked devices. Follow these tips to keep better control over your accounts.
Use a strong password for each account
- Never reuse passwords on different accounts. That way, if a criminal finds out one password, they can’t use it to get in to other accounts.
- Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Avoid using personal info that others might know or be able to find out.
- Avoid using common words, phrases, and keyboard patterns.
Learn more about creating a strong password.
Tip: You can use a browser like Chrome to help you manage your passwords for different accounts.
Set up 2-Step Verification
Make it harder for criminals to get in to your account. With 2-Step Verification, you sign in with something you know (your password) and something you have (a code on your phone).
- Follow the steps to set up 2-Step Verification.
- Store your backup codes in a safe place in case you can’t use your phone.
Don’t give permission to apps you don’t trust
Some apps are untrustworthy or not secure. To help keep your account more secure:
- Don’t let apps use your account unless you’re sure they’re from a trustworthy source.
- Turn off access for less secure apps, which don’t sign you in securely.
Browse in private & sign out on public computers
If you use public computers, follow these steps to make sure your activity and accounts aren’t saved.
- On a public computer, open a private window in Chrome.
- Sign in to your account in the window.
- When you’re done, close all private windows.
Note: If you sign in to your Google Account in a private window, your activity controls apply. The same activity as usual gets saved to your account.
Use a screen lock
Your phone might have personal info or make it easy to get in to your accounts. For those reasons, add a screen lock in case your phone is ever lost or stolen.
Learn how to set a screen lock.
If you can’t get in to your account
Follow the steps to recover your account.
If you’re having trouble, try again using these tips for account recovery.