I have reason to believe someone has been reading my Gmail messages and need to change my password. How do I change or update my Gmail password?
There’s something inherently dumb about how we all manage passwords nowadays, because we’re told to pick complex passwords and not to reuse them across sites, but if you’re like me, you have accounts on hundreds of different sites. Impossible to remember that many complex passwords. So what do we do? We use the same password on lots of sites or we set a password and never change it. Ever. Not so good, really.
There are some ways to make it work better, though. A password manager like 1Password can assist in both generating good passwords and remembering them for you, and I’m a big fan of two-factor authentication. In fact, you should hope over to this tutorial and make sure you enable 2 factor authentication in Gmail once you’ve updated your password too. That way if someone does get your password they still can’t log in to your account and check your email!
First steps first, however. Here’s how you can quickly and easily change your Gmail password. Start by logging in to Gmail. If you’re using a third-party app for Gmail (like MS Outlook or Apple Mail) you’ll need to go to Gmail in your Web browser. On the top right you’ll see a tiny icon that’s your picture. Click on it:
At this point you’ll want to click on the blue “Google Account” button. That brings up a big, complex set of Web pages with oodles of configuration and setting options. Not to worry, however, because what you want should be visible:
See the last entry on the list? “PASSWORD“. No surprise, that’s the one you want.
And yes, I actually did update my Gmail password after realizing that in fact I had been using the same one for a DECADE. Yikes. So there ya have it, I can write about best practices with security, but it doesn’t mean I always remember to apply it to my own accounts. 🙂
Click on the PASSWORD line and you’ll need to prove you have legit access to this info by logging in again:
Hopefully that’s an easy step and you’re logged in soon enough. At which point here’s what you see:
Here’s where you get to utilize best practices: Your password should be at least 10 characters long (longer = better), have upper case, lower case, a digit or two and a symbol or two. Since Gmail is probably pretty important to you, I suggest it not be a password you’ve used anywhere else on any other site too. Passwords built around a word or phrase can be okay, but really, a completely random sequence of 15 characters and digits is essentially impossible to guess or break, and that’s the ideal. Tools like 1Password make it super easy to generate – and remember! – these sort of passwords.
Make sure both entries match, click “Change Password” and you’re good to go! Done. Now I suggest you log out of your Gmail everywhere and log in again with the new password. If anyone else is accessing your account, it should reject them the very next time they try to check for new mail.
Now, also enable 2-factor authentication while you’re at it, as I suggested earlier. And good luck!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Gmail since it was an invitation-only service. Please check out my extensive Gmail help library while you’re here!