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

Protect yourself from account lock-outs

What to Know

  • Log in to your Google account, select Security > Ways we can verify it's you > Recovery Email, and add a secondary email address.
  • Make sure the recovery email is safe and you have easy access to it.
  • Use the password reset link to your secondary email to recover your account if you're locked out.

To make sure you can always recover your Gmail account, create an alternate email address with a service such as Gmail or Outlook. Then, when you can't get into your Gmail account, Gmail can send you the link you'll use to reset your password.

Secondary Email Address for Password Recovery

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

  1. Navigate to your Google Account page and select Security from the left pane.

    Google Account page with the Security tab highlighted
  2. Scroll down to Ways we can verify it's you and select Recovery Email.

    Google security settings with Recovery Email highlighted

    As a precaution, Google will ask you to reauthenticate your account.

  3. In the Add Recovery Email box, enter a recovery email address and select Save.

    Google security Add Recovery Email box highlighted
  4. You've added a recovery email address to your Google account.

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. Use a work address or a non-Google address (such as, so if your information is compromised, you're not left without recourse.

In addition to establishing a recovery password, enable 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.

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