Avoid getting locked out of your Google Account

Your Google Account has content that’s important to you, like emails, documents, photos, and Play purchases. Protect your account with recovery info and backups to help you sign in if:

  • Your password is forgotten
  • Your phone is lost
  • Your account is hacked

Step 1: Protect your account with recovery info

Recovery info helps you get back in to your account if you’re locked out.

Add or update your recovery phone number

  1. Sign in to the recovery phone section of your Google Account.
  2. From here, you can:
    • Select Add a recovery phone.
    • Change your recovery phone: Next to your number, select Edit Edit.
    • Delete your recovery phone: Next to your number, select Delete Delete.
  3. Follow the steps on the screen.

Note: Deleting your recovery phone number doesn’t delete it from being used for other Google services. Go to your account to manage your phone numbers.

Which number to use

Use a mobile phone that:

  • Gets text messages
  • Belongs only to you
  • You use regularly and keep with you

Add or update your recovery email address

  1. Go to the recovery email section of your Google Account. You might need to sign in.
  2. From here, you can:
    • Select Add a recovery email.
    • Change or delete your recovery email: Next to your email, select Edit Edit.
  3. Follow the steps on the screen.

Which email to use

Choose an email address that:

  • You use regularly
  • Is different from the one you use to sign in to your Google Account

How recovery info is used

Recovery phone number

Here are some ways your recovery phone number can be used:

  • To help you get in to your account if you forget your password or can't sign in for another reason
  • To block someone from using your account without your permission
  • To tell you if there’s suspicious activity on your account

If your recovery phone number is the same as another phone number you’ve added to your account, it might be used for other purposes. Learn more about how phone numbers are used.

Recovery email address

Here are some ways your recovery email address can be used:

  • To help you get in to your account if you forget your password or can't sign in for another reason
  • To tell you if there’s suspicious activity on your account
  • To let you know if you're about to run out of storage space

Step 2: Set up more ways to sign in

You can add more ways to sign in and prove you own your account.

If you sign in with just a password

You can sign in with your phone instead of a password. If you forget your password, it's helpful to have another way to sign in.

If you use 2-Step Verification

Add more ways to prove it’s you

Set up phone prompts

To sign in, you can tap a prompt that Google sends to your phone. Phone prompts help improve the security of your account and are faster than entering a code.

Store backup codes

If you can’t use your phone, 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 to your account, even if you can’t get text messages. Learn how to install the Google Authenticator app to get codes on your phone.

Set up a security key

Security keys are one of the most secure second steps you can use with your Google Account. Learn how to use a security key.

If you travel often

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 in to your account if you can’t sign in.

2. Set up a way to prove it’s you

Before you leave, set up your recovery phone to help you use your account while you travel. Keep this phone with you during your trip.

Prove you own your account using text message verification codes

Make sure your recovery phone can get text messages while you’re traveling.

Prove you own your account using phone prompts

To use phone prompts, you’ll need an active internet connection on your recovery phone.

If you sign in with just a password:

  1. Before you start traveling, download the Google app Google app or the Gmail app Gmail on your recovery phone. If you already have one of these apps on your recovery phone, skip to step 2.
  2. Open the Google app Google app or the Gmail app Gmail and sign in.
  3. Stay signed in on your recovery phone while you travel.

If you use 2-Step Verification:

  1. Follow the steps to set up phone prompts before you start traveling.
  2. Stay signed in to the Google app Google app or the Gmail app Gmail on your recovery phone while you travel.

3. Add more ways to prove it’s you

If 2-Step Verification is turned on, you can add more ways to prove it’s you.

Step 3: Make your account more secure

Help make sure only you can get in to your account with these tips.

Fix problems

Can't sign in

Go to the account recovery page, and answer the questions as best you can. These tips can help.

Use the account recovery page if:

  • You forgot your password.
  • Someone changed your password.
  • Someone deleted your account.
  • You can’t sign in for another reason.

Tip: To make sure you’re trying to sign in to the right account, try recovering your username.

Can't change recovery info

If there’s something different about how you’re signing in, you might not have the option to change your recovery info. You can try again:

  • From a device you normally use to sign in.
  • From a location where you normally sign in.
  • The following week from the device that you’re currently using.
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