Help me help someone get back into Gmail on Chrome
September 16, 2018 6:40 PM   Subscribe

So my best friend, in a medicated haze, logged herself out of Gmail in Chrome on a Mac, and doesn't remember the password. She is still logged in on her iPhone, but that's inconvenient for many reasons. Help me get her logged back in -- I think this is simple but there are some mitigating factors. See inside.

(So yeah, if you're familiar with my posting history, this is, in fact, my friend who is on her deathbed. She is spending a lot of time sleeping, and is a few days away from dying. During her lucid moments, we are reading her emails to her.)

Am I right in thinking this is a very simple situation: Choose "forgot your password" on Chrome or Safari or whatever, then follow the prompts? I am assuming Gmail will send a code to the phone, which is fine.

Is there a possibility that this is not how it'll work? Is there a reasonable possibility that by trying to reset the password on the laptop I'll bork something so badly that we will lose all access? It's absolutely essential that I don't do that, which is why I've held off for a week. But time is of the essense now.

I do have the login password for the Mac itself.

I fear that there's something I'm misunderstanding which will cause a disaster. Help?
posted by BlahLaLa to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
On the Mac: Chrome -> Settings -> Advanced -> Manage Passwords.

There's a decent chance the password is saved there.
posted by mhoye at 6:52 PM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I helped someone reset a forgotten gmail password from an ipad this week. A code was sent to her son's phone (in another state, but textable by us) and then they said it would take somewhere between 12-36 hours (I am note recalling exactly but I remember it was "a day or two" to sort it out). This may have been because of the non-proximity of the phone/ipad or my older friend's lack of skills trying to remember it, but I'd try other things first.
posted by jessamyn at 6:55 PM on September 16, 2018

If your friend has a recovery email account set, the password reset instructions will be sent there as well.

Here is Google's help article on the subject.
posted by kdar at 7:06 PM on September 16, 2018

I think it will be fine but just in case, on the phone set up mail forwarding - either to a new account or your own. No matter how locked out you get, the old account will keep forwarding mail.

It sends the password reset to her nominated place - either her phone or an alternate email. I have reset my Gmail password many times without issue.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:21 PM on September 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

Keychain Access will also show saved passwords on a mac.
posted by peppercorn at 8:01 PM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been locked out before after trying to do a Google password reset. Other times it was relatively easy.

One thing you might try is going into her Gmail on the iPhone, asking for the desktop version, and setting up a forward so that all her emails go to her spouse's email (or to yours) -- so that if you end up in some kind of Google password reset purgatory, you'll still have access to any new communication that someone sends her.

(However that only solves the "accessing new email" question -- getting indefinitely locked out of her Gmail could be a problem in the longer term if people are going to want those archives.)
posted by hungrytiger at 9:46 PM on September 16, 2018

Thank you for the help. We discovered that for whatever reason, she is still signed in to Gmail via Safari on the we're going to just keep that as is for the time being.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:40 AM on September 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

If she’s signed in on safari, keychain probably has her password per peppercorn’s suggestion above. You will need to launch Keychain via Spotlight, search for the word “gmail,” check the “show password” box, and enter the password she uses to login to the Mac. No risk of resetting the password or being locked out from Google with that method.
posted by 10ch at 2:59 PM on September 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

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