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In reading all the responses about how to change a Gmail address it seems to me the answer is you can't do it.

Is this really correct that once you get an email account are stuck with it the rest of your life and beyond? Is there really no way to cancel your Google email account and get a new one later?

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Can you give us some links to what makes you think this? AFAIK you can delete a Google account at any time, and get a new one at any time. But you might face some restrictions if you want to use Google+ in the mix. – MaryC.fromNZ May 12 '14 at 13:17
You may have read that you cannot change a Gmail address, meaning, you cannot change the address of an existing account. You can certainly cancel your account and open a new one, but your messages will not be transferred to your new account. – Vidar S. Ramdal May 12 '14 at 14:27

You can't rename the Gmail mail ID. If you badly want to change it and doesn't want to lose the mails, then you have two options.

1.You can assign alternative mail ID for the existing one. Alternative mail ID supports all the operations supported by original mail ID.

---> Link to Adding Alternative gmail ID

2.You can create a new gmail account and delegate the old account with the new one. By doing this you can read, reply and delete mails of old account from new account.

---> Set up gmail delegation

Hope this piece of information helps you! If you still have queries, feel free to ask.

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