How to Add a Picture to Your Gmail Profile

Change the picture people see when they open your emails

A young woman in a yellow jacket taking a cell phone selfie

 Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Your Gmail profile picture is what people see when they open your emails in their Gmail or Inbox account. You can change this picture any time you want and for any reason by clicking on your existing image or avatar.

It's recommended to have a profile picture in Gmail not only for people you know but also those you don't so that there isn't so much anonymity behind your email address. When you update your Gmail profile photo, anyone who hovers a mouse over your name or email address from their email account will see your updated profile image.

You can only use one image across your entire Google account, with the exception of Gmail. When you change your Gmail profile image, you can make it change just for Gmail or you can have all of your profile pictures change across any other Google-run public page you might have, like on YouTube, chat, and Google+.

Use a Google Service

Whether you're currently using Gmail, Inbox, Google Photos, or Google Calendar, you can change your Google profile picture in just a few steps. These instructions are the same for each of these websites.

  1. Locate and click the image or avatar at the top right of the page.
  2. Click Change on the image when the new menu appears.
  3. Choose a picture from the Select profile photo window. If you want to upload a new image from your computer, go into the Upload photos section. Otherwise, use Your photos or Photos of you to find one already in your Google account.
  4. Select the picture you want to use as your profile image. If you're told to crop it down to a square, then do so in order to be able to continue. See the "Tips and More Information" section below for help making a square profile image.
  5. Click the Set as profile photo button at the bottom.

Change a Gmail Setting

You can also change your Gmail profile picture from within Gmail's settings. However, going this route only lets you upload a new picture, not select one you already have on your Google account.

  1. Use the gear/settings menu button at the top right of Gmail to open a new menu.
  2. Pick Settings from the options.
  3. In the General tab, scroll down to the My picture section.
  4. Click the Change picture link.
  5. Select Choose File on the Upload a picture of yourself window.
  6. Browse for a profile image and then use the Open button to upload it. You might be told to crop it to make it fit, which you have to do in order to proceed.
  7. Click Apply Changes to save the photo as your new Gmail profile picture.

Open Your YouTube Profile

If you're on YouTube when you want to change your Google profile picture, following the on-screen steps to change your profile image will take you to your About me page on Google. Here's what to do next:

  1. Choose an image already in your Google account or upload a new one with the Upload photo button.
  2. Click Done on the next screen after you've properly sized the profile image.

Access Your Google Account Settings

Your Gmail profile image can be changed from your Google account settings, too. Just like above, this will change the Gmail profile picture, YouTube profile picture, etc., since they're all the same.

  1. Open your Google account settings.
  2. Click the image at the very center of the top of that page.
  3. In the Select profile photo window, choose the image you want to use as your profile photo or upload a new one from the Upload photos area.
  4. Use the Set as profile photo button to change your profile image for Gmail and other Google services.

Use the Gmail Mobile App

If you're using the Gmail mobile app, you can take a new image or pick one from your phone or tablet to set as your new Gmail profile photo.

  1. Tap the menu button at the top left.
  2. Pick Settings.
  3. Choose your email account and then tap My Account on the next page.
  4. Tap UPDATE PHOTO and then SET PROFILE PHOTO.
  5. Either take a new picture or select one already stored on your device.

Tips and More Information

If your picture is too large for a profile image, you'll be asked to crop it down, which you can do by dragging the corners of the image to make the box smaller. You can also drag the box to locate a specific part of the image that should be used as the profile picture.

Your Google profile picture doesn't have to take precedence over your Gmail photo. In other words, you can use a different picture for your Gmail profile than you do your other Google profiles like on YouTube and Google+.

However, to do that requires a settings change in Gmail:

  1. Open Gmail's General settings via the Settings menu item.
  2. Next to My picture: choose Visible only to people I can chat with.

​This setting will let only certain people see your Gmail profile picture. If you've given someone permission to see when you're online or to chat with you, they'll be able to see this picture. If you were to choose the other option, Visible to everyone, then anyone you email or who emails you would see the profile image.