How To Recover Lost Gmail Password With A SMS Message

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What’s the worst thing that can happen to us internet users next to a virus strike or a hard disk crash? All those who have gone through the woes and throes of losing a password will agree that it ranks alongside the other mind numbing strikes. And when the lost password is of a principal email account, the trumpet of doom is quite loud.

Call it sloppiness but many of us don’t pay attention to the password security question that is a feature of most email accounts. Or we do the obligatory filling up and forget it within a span of a few days. Password management is an important must-do for all. In an increasingly invasive society, it is the last (sometimes, only) shield against breach of privacy.

The way out with password recovery

Thankfully, all email services and other services which are registration based have a password recovery system. Each has its own relative robustness. Some of them are as simple as asking for your ID and then they send you a password reset link. Some like Yahoo are multi-stage and verify against the primary information entered during the account set-up. But here it’s important that you should have filled those details correctly in the first place. If not – its curtains.


Gmail password recovery – elementary but secure

The scary thing about Google and its umbrella of services is that it’s ‘serviced’ by a single password. It’s too much of a hassle setting up unique accounts for each service. As a typical user, I use the same log-in for Blogger, AdSense, iGoogle et al. and of course Gmail. Unwittingly losing it could spell ruin on multiple fronts (After all I had carefully constructed it as je!!ybe@n$999 instead of using a memory friendly jellybeans).

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Last month, Gmail added a small feature which gives us the utility of recovering our password via text message. Google’s initiative says that the problem is more widespread than we assume.

Here’s how it’s set up

  1. You have to turn it on by logging into your Google Accounts. Under Personal Settings – Security: Click on Change password recovery options.
  2. 2_Personal-Settings

  3. Google Accounts verifies your email again and you are forwarded to the Account Recovery Options page. For setting the new feature of text messaged code, all you need to do is to select the country from the dropdown and input the mobile number. Make sure that you don’t plan to change the number soon because it’s this number that will receive the password change code. Make sure all three password recovery options are setup. Click on save to update your account.
  4. 3_Recovering-Password

Here’s how it works

  1. Suppose you can’t remember your password? Click on the Can’t access your account link just below the log-in box.
  2. The Gmail Help page gives you the option of six possible scenarios. Select I forgot my password.


  3. The above choice directs you to the password recovery page. It takes you through a CAPTCHA and finally to the Reset Password page.
  4. The Reset Password page lists the three ways in which you can recover your password.
    • Using the secondary email address.
    • Using the SMS recovery code.
    • Or using the security question.
  5. If you received the recovery code, follow that option and input the code in the form given.


Congratulations, you just brought back your account from limbo!

Google takes our goof-ups for granted and gives us another face-saver. But if the email account is something you swear by, rest assured that it is going to be a life saver.

In the past we have looked at Stefan’s 5 Free Password Generators for Nearly Unhackable Passwords. We have also appreciated How to Create Strong Passwords That You Can Remember Easily. Just a smidgen of attention while filling out the password recovery options (all three) will save us a lot of needless heartburn later.

Have you set up yours?

Image Credit: katielips

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