For those of you who don’t like the limitations with your smart phone’s native email client (I’ve moved my iPhone’s Mail app to a group called “Crapple”), the official Gmail app can solve a lot of problems (provided, of course, that your email accounts are Gmail-based). However, it can create a problem of its own if you forget your login information. Suddenly, this app that you downloaded and installed because it helps you manage your mail the way you like is creating more of the frustrations it was meant to solve. This article will help you out if you find that you forgot your gmail username on the Android or iPhone apps.
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw
Why Use the Gmail App on Android or iPhone?
Many Android devices come with Gmail pre-installed. (In fact, depending on what phone you have and the generation of your OS, you may not be able to uninstall it.) The Mail app from iPhone is a different bag, though. You can sync it up to a variety of email clients: Yahoo, Live.com, and Gmail among them. So, if you’ve already got that on your iPhone, why would you even want to download a separate client. Particularly since the Mail app on iOS is one of those apps that you can never delete from your iPhone, anyway?
Well, the thing about that native Mail app is that it does what it was designed to do fairly well: and that is provide basic access to a variety of email clients. And this can be good if you have email accounts with multiple, separate services and still want to be able to send everything from one account. But if you only have mail in one account (or even multiple accounts through the same service), a dedicated app that was designed for that service usually has more options, and allows you to better work with your account.
One thing that I really like about Gmail (not just the app, but the service) is its multiple inboxes: the main part of my mail goes into one, advertisements go into another, and alerts from my social media accounts go into another. Instead of having to create a series of filters to separate these things out, Gmail does it naturally.
The problem is, this separation isn’t used by Apple’s iOS based Mail app. So when I fire it up and it says I have 399 new messages, 300 of those are ads, and another 90 of those are annoying updates from Twitter and Facebook that I do not need to see. (And yes, while you can usually configure your social media not to continually blast your email, Facebook is constantly altering its interface and terms of service, and sometimes you end up opting in to emails without knowing it.)
In the Gmail app, however, those categories are still there. It clears up your Inbox significantly and makes navigation a breeze.
Another problem about using the mail app is that it’s difficult to manage multiple email accounts through the same client. Depending on where you work, or if you’re a student, your business (or school) probably has its own email domain. More and more, instead of each school and or business operating its own email service, what we’re seeing is that businesses and universities are outsourcing their email to larger firms which already have all the tech support and operations in place. And since Gmail is one of the most popular email clients out there, Gmail is covering a lot of these contracts.
As a result, I have two Gmail addresses. And the second one automatically redirects to my first. According to IT, there is no way around this. There is no dedicated website for my work email, it will always go through my Gmail. When I’ve tried to manage my email through the Mail app, I get both sets of mail, but I can never get it to send from my work mail (and I don’t want my coworkers to have my personal email).
But through Gmail (provided I’ve gone through the proper steps on the website), sending from that alias is as simple as using a pull down menu.
What to Do When You Forget Your Username in Gmail on iPhone or Android
Of course, the best email client and email app in the world won’t do anything for you if you can’t get into it. And the number one thing you need to get into these apps is your username. The username is usually also going to be the first part of your address (so the bit before “@” and the domain extension), so usually you set this yourself, and you can usually set it up to be whatever you want.
However, all of this notwithstanding, sometimes you can simply forget your username on gmail. This could happen for a variety of reasons: Perhaps its a new account. Perhaps you went threw so many different variations of you name and initials (or whatever you built your user name out of) that you’ve forgotten now which version went through without any duplicates. Or maybe your Gmail is your work or school mail, and your business or school uses a really counter-intuitve naming system, so your username is some ridiculous string of letters and numbers that you just aren’t going to remember easily.
No matter what’s going on here, we can help.
Normally, forgetting your password is the problem that gets all of the attention. So much so that you can easily find all sorts of articles to help you get your password sent to you, or even build a new one, if the “Forgot Your Password” link and instructions are unclear or unhelpful. However, it’s not that much less common to lose track of your username (especially since most devices automatically remember all of this information for us).
Unfortunately, there are currently two problems:
- There is no way to solve this through the app (you will need to go to the website)
- In order to get your username, you must have already have submitted a recover email or phone number
Now if you have not yet forgotten your username the best thing for you to do is to set up a rescue account. This can be a phone number or an email address (other than the one you’re concerned about, of course). If you get locked out of your email, or you forget your username or password, Gmail will send this information to the account you’ve listed. All you need to do is use the Account Recovery Form .
In order to set this up:
On a computer:
- Go to mail.google.com
- Sign into your Gmail account (remember, this assumes you still have all your sign in info. If you don’t, look below)
- In the top right corner of the screen, there’s a button that looks like the number pad on a phone. Click on that.
- Choose “My Account.”
- This will take you to a page where you can manage the settings of all of your Google-based accounts (including Maps, Plus, and YouTube). This page may open in another tab or window, depending on your browser settings.
- Scroll down. Under “Sign in & security,” choose “Signing in to Google”
- From this menu, you can change your password, set up your secret question, and establish your emergency “rescue” contact information just in case Google ever needs to send you your login information or reset your password.
On a mobile device:
The options above aren’t available on the Gmail app, so you’ll have to go to mail.google.com on your mobile device. Take care, though, because the necessary functions also aren’t available on the mobile site. However, once you get to the mobile site (and take care: the first screen is probably going to be something that just wants you to download the app; you’ll need to scroll down to get to the mobile site), you’ll have to request the desktop site. This is different from device to device.
On an iPhone or other iOS device:
When forced to a mobile version of the site, you can request the desktop version by tapping on the address bar (as if you’re going to put in a new URL).
This will bring up a menu of your top sites. Now, just pull down slightly on this menu, and it will reveal the “Request Desktop Version” command.
On an Android device:
Very similar to the iPhone: navigate to a website and tap on the address bar. Only here, the command you want is in a menu you open by tapping on the three dot icon.
As I said, there is currently know way to get into your account without the recovery information. There previously had been an Account Recovery Form which would allow alternate ways to verify your identity, but now it only redirects to the same page, which will not let you progress without a Recovery Address.
I do hope that they change this again in the near future, as a momentary memory lapse shouldn’t lock you out of your email forever.
Another option, that will have variable results depending on how many old email address you keep active at one time: If you were invited to join email, and you still have access to your old invitation email, you may be able to access your account through that.
If this was helpful to you, or you hear of another way to get into your Gmail if you forget your Gmail username on Android or iPhone, please mention it in the comments.