How to Set Up, Check, and Change a Secondary Gmail Address

Protect yourself from account lock-outs

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When you can't get into your Gmail account, Gmail needs to be able to reach you — and only you — with a link that lets you reset your password.

One smart way to make sure you can always recover your Gmail account is to have an alternate email address (or, better yet, many) on tap.

Secondary Email Address for Password Recovery

To add a secondary email address to your Gmail account for password recovery:​

  1. Access the Sign-In & Security page for your Google Account, then click Signing In to Google from the navigation menu.

  2. In the Account Recovery Options box, click the arrow next to Recovery Email. As a precaution, Google will make you reauthenticate into your account.

  3. Click the pencil next to the email address box and enter a valid address. This address cannot be your Gmail account or one of your account's aliases. Click Done after you've entered the recovery address.

Gmail Account Security

Although a recovery address is a step in the right direction, it's important that the recovery address is safe and accessible to you. Aim for a work address or a non-Google address (like Outlook.com), so if your information is compromised, you're not left without recourse.

In addition to establishing a recovery password, follow best practices like enabling two-factor authentication on your account. If you have the choice, choose two-factor approaches that rely on either a hardware device like a USB security key or an authentication app on your smartphone. Avoid, if you can, two-factor solutions that rely on text messages.

From the same menu in your Google Account, you can configure two-factor security.