- You need the phone number or recovery email address you used when signing up for the account for a faster and more seamless process.
- Gmail will ask you many questions, so be prepared to answer them as accurately as possible.
- You can’t call or message Google to help you with your account recovery, so make sure to follow the steps carefully.
Gmail is the cornerstone of the entire Google experience. From the Android OS and Google Drive to YouTube and the Play Store. Not to forget, the ever-important emails, documents, and data stored in the cloud all need a Gmail account. That’s why it can be quite infuriating when you can’t get into your account.
Unfortunately, it can happen, and not in one way, either. You can forget your password, be a victim of hacking, or even delete the account accidentally. Maybe you forgot your email address or even that you ever had a Gmail account. In one way or another, I know we’ve all been there, and I understand the stress.
Luckily, Google made it possible to recover a Gmail account. So, if you are in any of the above situations, this article will explain the steps to take to get back your account.
How to Recover Gmail Account if You Can’t Remember Your Password
The most common problem that warrants account recovery from Google is when you can’t remember your password. It happens even to the best of us, especially when you are juggling multiple accounts.
This method is the standard Gmail recovery process. However, it requires two of either the following:
- An existing recovery email address or phone number for the specified Gmail account.
- Or, you need to have not logged into your Gmail account for at least five days.
Proceed as follows:
Step 1: Open the Gmail Sign-in Page
Launch your favorite browser and type in ‘gmail.com’ to open the Gmail Sign-in page. Enter your email address and click ‘Next.’
Step 2: Click on Forgot Password
When prompted to enter your password, click on the ‘Forgot Password?” link below the field.
Step 3: Answer the Questions as Prompted
Google will prompt you to answer a few security questions. These questions associate with your Gmail account and vary depending on the information you entered when creating your Gmail account.
Possible Scenarios for Prompts
1. A code sent to your phone or recovery email address
For instance, Google will ask you to enter the phone number you used to register your Gmail account.
You may also have to enter the recovery email address. You’ll receive a code from Google on your phone or email starting with ‘G-.’Enter the code in the box and click ‘Next.’ If that’s the code, Google will ask you to reset the password.
2. You might receive a pop-up on your phone
If you have the Gmail app on your phone (Android or iOS) and are signed in, you may receive a pop-up with a two-digit code or a message asking whether it’s you trying to access the account. Click “Yes” to proceed.
This scenario often occurs when trying to recover the account from another device, like a desktop. Enter the code in the box and proceed if it’s a code you received. Google may still ask you to confirm that you are trying to access the account.
3. Enter the last password you remember
You might be asked to enter the last password you remember if nothing else works. It doesn’t matter if you have used it recently or in the past, as long as you remember it. Google uses it to identify you as the rightful owner of the account. However, you might be prompted with more questions to verify your identity.
If you still can’t reset your password, click on “Try Another Way” Google may ask you other security questions, like the date you created your Gmail account. Those are what Google considers ‘backup’ information.
If you have neither the phone number nor the recovery email address, click on the ‘Try another way’ link at the bottom of the page. Google may tell you that it doesn’t have enough information to verify your account, or it will send you a recovery link after 72 hours. However, you need to be logged in at least on one of your devices to access the email.
Step 4: Log In to Your Account
Once you answer the prompts as desired by Google, proceed to reset the password and log in to your account.
Be sure to enter something you can remember but secure enough to stop malicious attempts. You can use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols as your password.
This video from dottotech shows you how to recover your Google account if you forgot your password or email address. You will also learn how to recover an account that has been compromised.
How to Reset Your Password if You Can’t Remember Your Email Address
What if you can’t remember your email address at all? In rare cases, this may happen, especially if you’re transitioning away from an old email address.
You’ll require the following if you can’t remember your email address:
- A phone number or recovery email address associated with the account
- The name you used to register your Gmail account
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: Go to the Username Recovery Page
The first step is to go to the Google username recovery page.
Step 2: Enter Your Phone Number or Email Address
Enter the phone number you used when creating the Gmail account. If you don’t have the phone number, enter your recovery email address and click ‘Next.’
Step 3: Enter Your Name as You Registered It
Google will ask you to enter the first and last name you used when registering for the account. I’m sure you can remember that.
Step 4: Request Verification Code
The next page will be Google asking to send a verification code to your phone or recovery email address. Click send and wait a few moments.
Step 5: Enter the Verification Code
You’ll receive a six-digit code from Google. Enter it in the box, and click ‘Next.’
Step 6: Choose the Email Address You Forgot
Google will list all the email addresses associated with the phone number or recovery email address. Pick the one you can’t remember from the list and enter the password.
You can now log in to your account and access all the emails.
How to Recover a Hacked Gmail Account
Recovering a hacked or ‘hijacked’ account can be a little tricky. In most cases, a hacker will change the recovery email address and phone number, making it hard to reset the password. But you can still recover your account if the hacker hasn’t changed the details.
To know if someone else is using your account;
- Check for suspicious activity like unauthorized financial transactions, changes to crucial security settings, unusual notifications, etc.
- Abnormal activity from Google products like YouTube, Google Photos, etc.
Step 1: Log In to Your Google Account
The first step is to log in to your Google account.
You may need to reset the password if you don’t remember it or recover the email address if you can’t remember it. The above sections should help you with that.
Step 2: Review Account Activity
Help secure your account by reviewing any suspicious activity or unauthorized changes. Once you are logged in, click on “Security,” located within the navigation tab on the left side of the screen. Check for any suspicious activity under the “Recent security activity” section.
This section has security alerts dating 28 days back. If you find anything unusual, click “No, secure account.” Proceed to reset the password and security settings. If you were the one who made the changes, click “Yes, it was me.”
Step 3: Secure Your Gmail Account
The last and most crucial step is to secure your Gmail account.
Here are some of the ways to ensure your account remains secure:
1. Enable 2-step Verification
- Your password
- Something you have. It could be your phone, a printed code, or a security key.
So, log in to your Google account and open security. Choose 2-step verification and proceed with the prompts.
2. Remove harmful software
Malware and viruses can also harm your account. Run a scan on your computer to check for any malicious software. You can tell if your computer is infected if you see any suspicious activity like ads or pop-ups, unwanted chrome extensions, alerts about viruses, etc.
3. Install a secure browser
Google recommends using its chrome browser for maximum security. It has built-in protection from malicious sites and phishing attacks. You can also use Firefox, Edge, or Safari.
4. Create a strong password
Creating a strong, unique password is one of the best ways to protect your accounts. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to make it more difficult for hackers to guess.
How to Recover Your Deleted Gmail Account
A deleted Gmail account is not gone forever. You can still recover it if you act fast enough. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Open the Account Recovery Page and Log In
Enter the email or phone number you used when registering the account. If you remember the password, enter it on the Google verification page.
Step 2: Answer Your Security Questions and Reactivate the Account
Google will ask some security questions related to your account. Answer them correctly and click “verify.” Enter the code sent to your email address or phone number, and you’ll be able to reactivate your account.
Once you recover the account, enter a new password you’ve never used to ensure maximum security.
For a more straightforward Gmail account recovery process, ensure you have the phone number or recovery email you used when registering the account. By following these steps, you’ll be able to recover your Gmail account in no time. And remember always to be vigilant about suspicious activities and use a strong password for added security.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©In Green/Shutterstock.com.