How to Share Access to Your Gmail Account

Setting Up Email Delegation

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You can grant access to a Gmail account you own to another person, allowing them to read, send, and delete emails on your behalf, as well as manage your contacts, by assigning them as a delegate in the account. This is a more convenient and secure solution than giving another user your password to access your Gmail account.

Giving out your password presents a lot of problems, and with a Google account that can also grant access to all of your Google services. The other person may also have their own Gmail account, or need to access multiple shared Gmail accounts, making such that they'd have to log in and out, or keep sessions separate by other means.

With a simple change to your Gmail settings, you can delegate your Gmail email cleanly.

Assigning a Delegate to Your Gmail Account

To allow somebody access to your Gmail account (not including crucial account settings, which remain only yours to change):

  1. Make sure the person to whom you want to grant access has a gmail account with a gmail.com email address.
  2. Click the Settings button in Gmail's top right corner (it appears as a gear icon).
  3. Select Settings from the menu.
  4. Click the Accounts and Import tab.
  5. In the Grant access to your account section, Click Add another account.
  6. Enter the Gmail email address of the person to whom you want to entrust the handling your account in the Email address field.
  7. Click Next Step.
  8. Click Send email to grant access.

Wait for the recipient to accept the request to have them access your mail.

Logging Into a Gmail Account as a Delegate

To open a Gmail account for which you've been assigned a delegate:

  1. Open your Gmail account.
  2. Click your profile icon in the upper right of your Gmail page.
  3. Select the desired account under Delegated accounts.

The owner and all who have access can read and send mail simultaneously through the delegated Gmail account.

What a Gmail Delegate Can and Can't Do

An assigned delegate to a Gmail account can perform several actions, including read messages sent to you, send emails, and reply to emails that have been sent to you. When a delegate sends a message through the account, however, their email address is show as the sender.

A delegate may also delete messages sent to you. They may also access and manage your Gmail contacts.

A Gmail delegate may not, however, chat with anyone for you, nor are they able to change your Gmail password.

Revoking Delegate Access to a Gmail Account

To remove a person from the list of delegates who have access to your Gmail account:

  1. Click the Settings icon in the upper right corner of Gmail.
  2. Select Settings from the menu.
  3. Click the Accounts and Import tab.
  4. Under Grant access to your account, next to the email address of the delegate for whom you want to revoke access, click delete.
  5. Click OK.

If the person is currently accessing your Gmail account, they will be able to perform actions until they close their Gmail session.

Note that since Gmail is designed for individual email use, if you have many users that access the account often and from different locations, this can trigger a locking of the email account.