How to Recover a Forgotten Gmail Password

Gmail offers several options for gaining access to your account

What to Know

  • If you've forgotten your Gmail password, you can reset it and recover access to your account.
  • To reset, you should already have a secondary email address registered or not have logged into your account for 5 days.
  • Gmail uses a validation process to set a new password, which includes a variety of questions only you can answer.

This article explains how to recover a forgotten password and shares standard questions Gmail will ask during the process.

To avoid having to remember passwords at all, try a password manager like Dashlane, which is free for a basic account.

Recover a Forgotten Gmail Password

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These steps are for all Gmail accounts and will work the same across all computer browsers.

Follow these steps to reset your forgotten Gmail password and recover access to your account.

  1. First, make sure you either (1) have a secondary email address specified for your Gmail account or (2) haven't logged into your Gmail account for five days.

  2. Open Gmail and enter your email address in the space provided. Press Next.

  3. On the Gmail login screen select Forgot password?.

    Screenshot of Forgot Password link on Gmail password recovery page
  4. Gmail will now ask a number of questions to try to establish you as the owner of the account.

    Screenshot of Google Account recovery page focusing on Enter last password and Try another way links

    For each question, enter your answer and select Next. Or, if you don't know the answer to a question, select Try another way.

    See below for a list of the questions Google may ask.

  5. Once you've established yourself as your account's owner using the steps above, Gmail will log you into the account. If, for security reasons, you want to change your password, follow the Change password link.

Questions Google Will Ask During Gmail Account Recovery

Man at computer having an idea
jethita / iStock

The questions Gmail asks to help verify your Gmail account may include the following, not necessarily in this order.

  • A previous password: If you've changed your Gmail password and only remember an older one, you can enter it.
  • Verification using a code: Depending on the verification methods you've previously set up for two-factor authentication, you can get a code from:
    • An SMS text message received from Google
    • An email message received from Google
    • A phone call received from Google.
    • An app (e.g. Google Authenticator)
    • Printed back-up codes
  • A secondary email address for Gmail account recovery: To reset the password on your Google Account, follow the link in a message Google sends to your alternate email address. You may also be able to enter any current email address to receive a verification code.
  • A security question for Gmail password recovery: When prompted, type the answer to your recovery question.
  • When you set up the account: Enter the month and year when you created the Gmail (or Google) account.
  • A pop-up on your phone: Depending on how you set up your account and whether your phone is connected to the same Gmail account, you might be able to get a notification on your phone that you can accept to verify that it's you requesting a password reset.

If you've used your Gmail account in the past five days but haven't specified a secondary email address, you'll have to wait for five days before you can try to gain access to the account.