June 20, 2015

Gmail Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The topics below represent many of the most commonly posted questions to the Gmail Help Forum. If your question is not covered below then you should try the following steps:

Index of questions (by forum category)

Account Access and Safety
Composing and Sending Messages
Reading and Receiving Messages
Managing Settings and Mail
Contacts and Sync

Questions and Answers

How do I get help and support?

The best source of help is the Google Help Center for your e-mail product:  Gmail, Inbox, or Google Apps. This provides online articles and troubleshooters that cover most everything you might need to know about Gmail.

Next would be to enter your question in the search bar of the Google Help Forum for your e-mail product:  Gmail, Inbox, or Google Apps.  These are Google managed user-to-user forums.  Since most questions about Gmail have been asked before, the greatest value is using search to find a question like yours that has already been answered.

Blogs written by expert users is another source of detailed information about the product. A partial list of such blogs in included in the forum post: Gmail Support Options

Google does not make use of any third-party companies for support. Still, a web-search on "Gmail support" will generate a list of third-party support sites. None of these sites are officially endorsed by Google, even if they claim otherwise.

Help Centers
Help Forums
Gmail Forum: Gmail Support Options

My account was hacked, how do I get it back?
My password no longer works, how do I get a new one?

If you are unable to log into your account, you will need to go to https://accounts.google.com/signin/recovery (also accessible from the "Need help?" link on the sign in page).  There you will have one or more of the following options:
  1. Using a pre-configured recovery phone.
  2. Using a pre-configured recovery email.
  3. Prove ownership by answering questions about the Google account (last password, creation date), receiving a verification code to an e-mail or phone, or providing other information.
The message beginning “Google couldn’t verify it’s you…” means you have not been able to prove ownership of the account. Repeating the process will not help unless you can provide more accurate information or attempt it on a computer/device normally used to access the account.

There are no other options for account recovery, and Google will not return an account unless you can prove ownership of it. If all three of the above fail then the account is probably lost

Help Center:  Account recovery options
Expert Blog:  Gmail Account Recovery and Security
Gmail Forum:  I can not access my Gmail account

Why am I receiving e-mail to an address similar to my own?

Gmail ignores both dots "." and caps in both account creation and e-mail delivery.  That means first.last@, firstlast@, and First.Last@ all represent the same account.  If you receive e-mail intended for someone else then either the sender accidentally used the wrong e-mail address, or they were given the wrong e-mail address.

Help Center:  Receiving someone else's mail
Expert Blog:  Wrong email! The GMail "dots issue"

Why am I receiving e-mail addressed to an address different than mine?

If you receive e-mail intended for someone else using an address with different characters or numbers in the address, it could be because your address is in the BCC field (very common for spam) or because the receiver made an error in auto-forwarding sending them to the wrong account.

Gmail Forum:  E-mail with no similarity
Gmail Forum:  I'm getting someone else's emails

My account may have been accessed by someone else, how to I secure it?

In order to fully secure your account you must check both your Gmail account settings (Gmail Security Checklist) and your Google account settings (Account Security Checkup).

Help Center:  Gmail Security Checklist
Help Center:  Account Security Checkup
Expert Blog:  How To Secure Your Account

How do I change my Gmail account password?

To change your Gmail password, use a browser to log into the Gmail web interface at https://mail.google.com/ then go to:  Settings -> Accounts -> Change Account Settings -> Change Password.

Help Center:  Change or reset your Google Account password
Gmail Forum:  I want to change my Gmail password

How do I make a password no-one can hack?

Pick a strong password including letters, numbers and other allowed symbols, and keep it just for Gmail - don’t use it on other sites. 
Help Center:  Creating a strong password
Expert blog:  How NOT To Get Hacked

How do I sign into a different Gmail account?

To switch the account you are viewing, start by signing out of whatever account you are in,  then go to https://mail.google.com/ and sign into the account you want to access.

To signing into another account you own in addition to the current one, click on your picture/avatar in the upper/right and select “Add account” from the drop-down panel.

Help Center:  Sign out
Help Center:  Sign in to multiple accounts at once
Gmail Forum:  Signing in as different user

How do I recover deleted messages?

The answer to this is dependent on when (less or more than 30 days) and why (by you or due to a compromised account) the messages were deleted.

Help Center:  Recovering deleted messages
Help Center:  Delete messages
Gmail Forum:  Recover deleted emails in Gmail after 30 days

Google says I have violated the Terms of Service (ToS). What do I do?

If you are notified that your account has been disabled and you feel it is a mistake, a link will be provided under “Next steps for disabled accounts” where you may submit an appeal.

Help Center:  Account has been disabled
Help Center:  Google Terms of Service
Help Center:  Gmail Program Policies

I can’t set up a Send Mail As address in Gmail for my Google Apps account.

To set up a Google Apps for Work address for Send Mail As, you must use the Gmail outgoing mail server. So your settings need to read:
    SMTP Server: smtp.gmail.com (over-write any suggestion Gmail may have entered)
    Port number: 465 using SSL or 587 using TLS
    Username: the full Google Apps address you are trying to set up, including the domain
    Password: the Google Apps password for the account you are trying to set up.
Help Center: Send mail from a different address or alias

I can’t set up a Send Mail As address in Gmail for my non-Google email account.

For all non-Google email accounts you must ask your other provider for the SMTP Server name, port number and security setting they require you to use, and enter that information in the set-up boxes.
If your “other account” is only a forwarding address and has no entitlement to use an SMTP server, then you cannot set it up as a Send Mail As address in Gmail.

Help Center: Send mail from a different address or alias

How do I make sure that all contacts on my phone get synced to my Google account and can be recovered if I lose them from the phone?

To sync to your Google account when Sync Contacts is turned on, all contacts created on your phone must be tagged with the Google contact type. Some phones provide this as the default - others, notably Samsung, require you to select the Google contact type every time. If you do not do that, then the contact will only be saved on your phone, will not sync to your Google account, and will be lost if you reset your phone or change phones.

Help Center: Sync contacts with your phone
Help Center: Sync contacts with your Apple device
Help Center: Sync Gmail, Calendar and Contacts on your iPhone and iPad

Why can’t I get or send my Gmail messages with my Outlook/Thunderbird/Apple Mail/Windows Mail clients? I get an error message.

Gmail recently enforced a higher security sign in procedure no longer using OAuth as the default access method. While developers have received warning from Google, not all e-mail clients and apps have been updated to use the new protocol.

To allow your email client apps to continue to sign in to Gmail the old way, you need to turn on access for these “Less secure Apps” in your Gmail security settings.

Help article: Allowing less secure apps to access your account
Gmail Forum: Has your email app stopped working properly with Gmail?




Index Question.