What to Do When You Forget Your Security Question Answer to Gmail?

Written by sarah barnes
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What to Do When You Forget Your Security Question Answer to Gmail?
Choose a security answer that's easy for you to remember. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

As with many other websites, Google's Gmail service offers a password recovery option that includes answering a security question. Sometimes, though, the security question answers can be as hard to remember as your passwords. It's possible in some cases to recover your password without answering your security question; otherwise, short of making your case with Google staff, you may be out of luck.

Recovery Email

If you have an alternate e-mail address on file in your Google account, you can reset your password by having instructions sent to that e-mail address, bypassing the need to answer your security question. Visit the password recovery page, enter your username and click "Submit." Then, retype the CAPTCHA code and click "Submit" again. Check your other e-mail address for the instructions.

Contact Google

If you don't have a recovery e-mail address on file (or you no longer have access to the alternate address) and you can't get your security question right, you'll need to contact Google to help recover access to your account. Use the form provided on Google's "I can't access my account" page. Google asks that you provide as much information as possible about your account to help you regain access to it, such as the approximate date you started using your account and any other Google services you use with your Gmail username.

Reset Security Question

If you're able to regain access to your account, you may wish to reset your security question so you don't have this issue again in the future. From your Inbox, click "Mail settings," "Accounts and Import," "Change password recovery options," "Edit." Choose a new question and answer, then click "Save."

Security Question Tips

A good guideline to follow when choosing a security question is to pick one whose answer is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess; a good example of this type of question from Google's question options is "What was your manager's name at your first job?" You can also write your own question; consider one that asks for an opinion rather than a fact, such as your favourite ice cream flavour, in order to make it harder for others to figure out.

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