Access Gmail Account

oo7ml used Ask the Experts™

We use Google For Business for our work email.

We are trying to gain access to one of our old staff's email account, as he used his email address to register a piece of software that we use, and we now need to change it to our main service email, as we can't change our billing.

When we try reset the password, it sends a code to his phone, however he no longer uses the same phone number so he is unable to help us.

As Admin of the Google account, I thought I would be able to get around this, and access this inbox?

Any ideas would be much appreciated, thanks.
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Systems Engineer
Yes, you can fix it if you have access to an admin account!

Log into the Admin portal of G Suite, and here we will go to a couple of places to check for this number. First, go to Device Management. Look for the devices tile, this will have all the devices that a user has an email attached to device like a phone. Look for this email account and if you see it anywhere attached to a phone you can delete the device from here to prevent access to company resources.

Next, go to the Users and select the User that the email account is registered with. Select that user to go into their profile. Here, look for 2-Step Verification and make sure it is turned off. This will wipe any apps like Google Authenticator or SMS 2FA. Then on the same security screen inside that user look for "Login Challenge" field. Here is you will find the challenge of getting a pop up or a text or something to that phone. You can disable it for 10 minutes there to bypass the account going to that phone.

Finally, just as an added measure, check in the User Information tab on the account and make sure no phone numbers are set in any of that info. This doesn't really drive any of this, but its better to go ahead and remove the number if its not retrievable anyways. If all else fails you can ask Google Support to help disable it if you are still having trouble.

I hope this helps!
David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting Savant
Distinguished Expert 2018

After you go through the checklist provided by James, also here's a tip.

Never, ever, ever let some random individual involve themselves + their email address in your billing.

Create an address, say or something similar, then use this address for all your account billing, to avoid similar future problems.
Top Expert 2016

If it was his personal account and NOT the business (GAPPS) account only he can recover the account
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Scott FellDeveloper & EE Moderator
Fellow 2018
Most Valuable Expert 2013

James was very thorough but missed a step. When you are viewing the list of users in your admin panel, as you hover over a user you will see an option to reset the password. You can also get that option by clicking on the user and the reset password option is on the left.

Do make sure to turn off two step as James suggested and for now you don't have to force a new password at log in. All you are trying to do is get access to the one item.

You do have the option to migrate email and docs from an old user to a new user.  If you do delete this user, add the username to a group or alias to receive any emails such as what you are trying to access. That way you don't have to log in to the specific email account.
James BunchSystems Engineer


      I did miss this step, thanks! But this is one that I would haven't mentioned probably anyways because even if you change the password and try to log in with the password you know its still going to hit the challenge request from google to allow login either via the pop up app from Google or the text message verification. All of the steps provided typically will have to be completed first if they assigned that account to a phone even if you do change the password.


Thanks all, much appreciated

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