Account Recovery in Google Apps Vs. Regular Gmail

During an email and computer security training today, I was asked how to set up the password recovery options with an alternate email address and text message alerts in Gmail. I had always guessed that it was the same for Google Apps type of accounts as it was for regular Gmail accounts, but it turns out that they are indeed different. 

In the Google Apps accounts (our solution for school email accounts), there are no automatic alerts or password recovery features. Since they are managed locally, you always have the option of contacting your local technology specialist to help. If Google had to field phone calls from their millions of mail account holders, it would be difficult to say the least to provide that sort of service. 

So, in short, you can’t set up that recovery information for school accounts as I have been presenting this entire year, and for that I feel badly. Here’s what Google says about the matter:

Note to Google Apps users: Automated password recovery isn’t available for your account at this time. Please contact your organization’s IT admin for help with password recovery.

However, for regular Gmail based accounts, you can do it, but it’s kinda buried. I thought about posting the direct link to the page here, but then it would look like some of the phishing scams that I been training teachers about to avoid at all costs! 


Here’s where you go:
–> Log in to Gmail, then Settings –> Accounts and Import tab –> Google Account settings (at the bottom, and you may have to re-enter your password again in the new window that opens) –> Change password recovery options (near the top).

On this final page that opens up, you can set the alternate email addresses, a cell phone number for SMS alerts, and view/modify your security question. If any changes are made to your account – whether you are the one making the change or not, you will be notified through that other email address and via text message if you provided your phone number.

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