I'm Dr Frankenstein, my Gmail password is a monster of my own creation
November 17, 2016 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I can't remember what I changed my Gmail password to when I reset it last month, and I no longer have access to my recovery email address. I can still access my Gmail from my phone, but I can't get in to my Gmail account on any browser! Is there any hope for me?

I reset my Gmail password at the end of September and stupidly can't remember exactly what I changed it to. I left myself a note with a hint, so I know approximately what it is, but for some reason can't replicate it exactly. Dumb, I know.

I have my Gmail set up on my iPhone and in my Windows 10 Mail app on my laptop, so I am currently able to access my mail, but today I attempted to log in to Gmail in my browser and just. could. not. get. the. password. right.I mostly access my Gmail through my phone and my Mail app, so I rarely have an occasion to actually type in my password. I've maybe typed it in once since I changed it in September.

When I attempt to recover my password, Gmail tells me it's sent a recovery email to an old work email address that I no longer have access to. When I try to recover through other means, it asks me a security question that I know the correct answer to but I don't know if my correct answer matches what I originally entered. It then asks me the month and year that I set up this Gmail account, and I have a vague idea of when that was but again I'm not sure if I'm right. Finally, it asks for another email address to send a recovery email to, then it sends me a 6 digit code to that email address, which I enter correctly, then I get a message that says that "Gmail can't verify your identity right now".

I am frustrated with my own stupidity and worried that I might lose access to my first.lastname@gmail email address that I have had for years!

Some additional details:
- I tried contacting someone at my old company and they do not have access to my recovery email address any more
- I can currently access my Gmail from my phone and from my laptop, so if Gmail were to email a recovery to my Gmail, I would be able to access it
- I am not currently logged in to YouTube, Google, etc. on any other device that I have access to
- I have tried logging in about 6000 times in the last two hours with different combinations of what I think my password but am getting the "incorrect password" message every time
- I know that my password is a memorable line from a favorite movie where I've taken the first letter of each word in the line, and spelled out some words in their entirety but changed certain letters to characters or numbers. For example, if the movie line were "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse", I might have made the password: Imu@n0fferucr". Seemed like a brilliant idea at the time
-The hint I left for myself gives me the movie line and one of the special characters I used, but I can't figure out what combination I put in

Even though I do still have access to the emails I have coming through to my Gmail, I need to figure out my password eventually, right? Is there any way to contact Google to recover this password? Or should I just keep guessing until I get it? Does Gmail lock you out without letting you know you're locked out if you've tried to log in unsuccessfully in a short period of time? Am I too dumb to be allowed to use email and should I be banished from the internet forever? Help!
posted by rodneyaug to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is your password in your apple password storage?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:56 AM on November 17, 2016

Search your email (on your phone) for the word "the" or something else likely to appear in just about anything. Find the earliest. That's the month and year you set up your gmail.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:59 AM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ok, having just searched my own email for the word the, I see that it will make you scroll through every instance. Instead, search for emails sent Jan 2005, Jan 2004 etc. until you get a none found, and then start narrowing it down by month.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:01 PM on November 17, 2016

If you are logged in on your phone, it means your password (the correct password) is actively stored in there. Once you change a password, your account would stop working on your phone immediately until you entered the new one. I would google ways to get your password from your phone. I have Android, so I can't help you there, but I'm sure there is a way on iOS.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:14 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

you can find your first email even easier than that - go to gmail on your laptop, go to all mail, then go to page 2, then change the url so that instead of 'p2' it says 'p10000' - it will automatically take you to the last page of your emails (unless you have more than 10000 pages but then make it a bigger number)
posted by brainmouse at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is a different tack, but maybe try some visualizing techniques to recall what you were doing at the time you changed your password? Picture the room, things around it, that movie you based that password off of, etc.

It may just jog something loose.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

If you can log in, go into the settings and set a new recovery email.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2016

Why can't you just change your password from your phone? Go to google.com, pick My Account from the menu and under Sign-in & security you'll be able to change your password.
posted by Redstart at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2016


spinifex23, your method helped, and I was able to jog my memory somehow and guess something I hadn't tried yet.

Thank you all for your suggestions. I went in and changed my recovery email address to my husband's email, which I think is possibly a stronger symbol of my lifelong commitment to him even than marriage.
posted by rodneyaug at 12:37 PM on November 17, 2016 [64 favorites]

Just to throw this out there, Have you considered using a password manager?
posted by gregr at 12:57 PM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would like to suggest using the oldest-school password manager, i.e. paper (a notebook kept in a drawer, or a hard-copy planner, if you've got one, or writing over a plain business card or coffee stamp card that could be kept in a wallet). Congrats on finding the password, btw!
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:24 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Why can't you just change your password from your phone? Go to google.com, pick My Account from the menu and under Sign-in & security you'll be able to change your password.

you will be required to put in the old password first even if you are already logged in.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:30 PM on November 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Can I tag team on this one? Same problem except there's no way I'm going to remember the password. It was auto generated in Safari and stored on my Mac in the Keychain but somehow what's there no longer works.
posted by mrcrow at 11:59 AM on November 18, 2016

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