Avoid catastrophe, don't get locked out of your Gmail inbox; here is how to protect Google account
Losing access to your Gmail account can be catastrophic, here’s how to protect your most important account in four easy steps.
Google’s free services including Gmail and YouTube have become an integral part of our lives now, thanks to Android devices. And we have connected almost everything we do, to our email address. Therefore, losing access to such a valuable entity can be almost catastrophic. This is why, securing and ensuring data is kept safe has become one of the most important tasks for any Google account holder. Thankfully, there are a handful of essential steps that every user can take to ensure they’re never locked out of their Gmail account.
Use a password manager
We’ve previously explained how a password manager can come in very handy when you want to make secure passwords for all your accounts but don’t want to be bothered to remember all of them. The average person has several accounts today and it’s nearly impossible to remember unique passwords for all of them. Many password managers also keep a history of passwords you have used in the past – this means that if you still get locked out of your account, you will have the correct answer if Google asks you what your previous password was.
Always keep your recovery information up to date
When you first try to regain access to an account you are locked out from, Google will ask you to confirm your recovery email address or phone number. If you still have access to them, the company should let you create a new password to enter your account. This is incredibly important because many users change their email addresses or even their phone numbers but forget to update the new numbers (and confirm them) which can be a recipe for disaster if you somehow get locked out of your account.
Find out when you created your Google account
However, if you do not have access to them, then you might be asked about the time you created your Google account. For many users, this could be all the way back in 2006 or 2009 depending on when they signed up. If you don’t remember, it's worth heading over to Gmail and searching for “welcome to Gmail” or alternatively, navigate to the last email in your inbox, to get a fair idea of when you created your account. This needs to be done right away, as once you’re locked out of your account, you won’t have access to your inbox.
Take regular backups of your personal information
Google has a useful tool called Takeout, which allows users to download an archive of all their Google data – or parts of it, if they don’t care about some of the data. This tool lets you download your files rather quickly and can export photos, videos, Hangouts chats, calendar data and most importantly - emails. You can download your emails in the MBOX format which is compatible with several apps. That way, even if you permanently lose access to your account for some reason, you should still have access to all (or most) of your data.