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How to create a new Gmail account and customize your settings

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man using laptop and phone at homeIt’s easy to make a new Gmail account with personalized settings.

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  • When you create a Gmail account, you get access to Google’s many apps and services. 
  • You can create a new Gmail account on a browser or using the Gmail mobile app.
  • Customize Gmail settings like your profile picture, inbox appearance, and vacation auto-responder.

While Gmail is just one of the many services you get when you create a Google account, for all intents and purposes you can think of them as the same thing. 

When you sign up for a Google account you automatically get Gmail, and if you have a Gmail account that means you already have a Google account. 

Your Google or Gmail account also gives you free access to a large library of other apps and services, including Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Maps, and dozens more. 

Here’s how to set up a new Gmail account to use with all of Google’s services. 

Quick tip: If you ever need to sign in to your Google account to access a Google product, use your Gmail username and password.

How to create a Gmail account

You can create a Gmail account using a web browser on your computer or on the mobile app. No matter where you create your account, you’ll be able to access it from any of your web browsers or devices.

On desktop:

1. On your Mac or PC, go to Google’s Create your Google Account page. You can go there directly or find it by going to Google.com, clicking Sign In, and then clicking Create account.

2. Follow the instructions to complete the first page; start by entering your first and last name. It doesn’t need to be your legal name, but it should be the way you want to be identified in Gmail.

Gmail signup form where you can fill out your personal information and preferred Gmail address.As you complete the form for your Google account, it will also generate your Gmail address.

Dave Johnson/Insider

3. Enter the email username you’d like to use. Keep in mind that there are billions of Gmail users, so your first choice might not be available.

4. Enter your desired password and enter it a second time in the Confirm field. For safety and security, your password should be strong — use a combination of upper and lower-case characters, numbers, and symbols that’s at least 8 characters long (and preferably 12 characters).

5. Click Next.

6. Enter your mobile phone number — this is a mandatory step designed to help recover your account if there’s a problem signing in. Likewise, you should also add a secondary email address to help in account recovery. Also enter your birthday and gender.

Verify your phone number screen during Gmail account sign-up.A phone number makes it easy to recover your account if you forget your password.

Kyle Wilson/Insider

7. Click Next.

8. Enter the code received at your designated mobile phone number to verify the phone number is yours.

Quick tip: If you made a mistake entering the phone number, you can click Back and re-enter the number.

9. If you want to use this number with other Google services (like using it for video calls with Google Meet) click Yes, I’m in. Otherwise, click Skip.

10. Finally, click I agree after reviewing Google’s terms of service.

You’re now logged into this new Google account in this browser. Once it’s set up, you can access your personal contacts in Gmail, and use your Google account to find, add, and manage those contacts.

On the Gmail mobile app:

1. Open the Gmail app and tap the account icon at the top-right.

2. Tap Add another account.

3. On the Add account screen, tap Google.

4. On the Google Sign in screen, tap Create account and choose For myself.

Google Sign in screen with the Create account and For myself options highlighted by a bright pink arrow.Follow the instructions in the Gmail app to create a new Google account.

Dave Johnson/Insider

5. Enter your first and last name. It doesn’t need to be your legal name, but it should be the way you want to be identified in Gmail. Tap Next.

6. Enter your birthday and gender, then tap Next.

7. Choose one of the premade Gmail addresses or tap Create your own Gmail address to make your own unique address. Tap Next.

Google email address selection screen.Google will offer you several email addresses, or you can make your own.

Dave Johnson/Insider

8. Create a strong password for your new Google account and then tap Next.

9. You can add a phone number that can be used to recover your account if you forget your password, and with other Google services—like using it for video calls with Google Meet. If you want to do this, enter a mobile phone number and then click Yes, I’m in. Otherwise, click Skip.

10. If you added a phone number, enter the verification code that’s texted to your number.

11. Click Next.

12. Finally, click I agree after reviewing Google’s terms of service.

Gmail mailbox settings

If you regularly use Gmail, you might want to change the mail app’s settings. Google gives you a lot of options for configuring Gmail. One of the first things you may want to do is change your Google profile picture; after that, you can access a wide variety of other settings from the web and your mobile device.

On desktop:

1. Open Gmail in a web browser and sign in if needed.

2. Click the gear-shaped Settings icon at the top-right. You should see some quick settings that let you change the overall appearance of the inbox.

3. Click See all Settings at the top of the menu.

Here you’ll find the Settings page. Google tends to change the organization and content of Settings often, but you should be able to find what you need with a little browsing. There are a number of tabs at the top of the page, such as General, Labels, Accounts and Import, and others.

Gmail General settings screen.The Settings page has a lot of options for configuring your Gmail inbox.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Each of these tabs has its own group of settings, though you’ll probably find most of the features you need in General. Here you can configure your vacation auto-responder, for example, as well as turn on and off features like grammar checking, spell check, and autocorrect.

On the Gmail mobile app:

1. Open the Gmail app.

2. Tap the three-line icon at the top-left, scroll to the bottom, and tap Settings.

Here you’ll find a list of all the settings you can configure. Your options will be quite different than in a web browser — the display options are very different on a mobile device, for example — and there are no tabs at the top of the page.

In-app view of Gmail on mobile with the settings opened.The Gmail app gives you access to a wealth of inbox settings.

Kyle Wilson/Insider

How to create a Google account for an existing email address

You can also create an existing Google account – without the Gmail part – by using an existing email address. During the sign-up process, click Use my current email address instead and enter your email address. 

Gmail desktop sign-up screen with the “Use my current email address instead” option highlighted by a bright pink box.Click User my current email address instead and fill out the rest of the form.

Kyle Wilson/Insider

The rest of the setup is largely the same, aside from a confirmation code being sent to confirm that you are the owner of the email address entered and didn’t make a typo.

How to delete your Gmail and Google accounts

If you want to delete your Gmail account – but keep the rest of the Google suite – it can be done without losing your data by following our guide on how to delete your Gmail. If you wish to delete your entire Google account, that is also possible.

Changing your Gmail name

While it is possible to change your display name for outgoing emails sent by your Gmail address, it is unfortunately not possible to change your Gmail address after creating it; the only way to do this would be to create a new Gmail address. This, unfortunately, cannot be done on the mobile app.

To change your display name:

1. Open Settings and click See all settings.

2. Click on Accounts and imports.

3. Under the Send mail as heading, click edit info.

Gmail Accounts and imports settings screen with the edit info button highlighted by a hot pink box.Click edit info.

Kyle Wilson/Insider

4. In the popup that appears, input the name that you wish to use in the empty text box below your Google account name and click Save Changes.

Send as name change box with the Save Changes button highlighted by a hot pink box.Input the new name and click Save Changes.

Kyle Wilson/Insider

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