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When I want to register an account with Gmail now, it says "Google will send a text message containing a verification code to your mobile phone."

I don't want to give Google my mobile phone number!!

How do I get around this?

migrated from superuser.com Dec 20 '10 at 1:36

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

  • They do this to keep robots from setting up hundreds or thousands of accounts to use for spamming. – Joel Spolsky Sep 17 '10 at 3:50
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    If you're already prepared for Google to have access to all your conversations conducted via Gmail then them also having your mobile number seems fairly inconsequential, to me at least. If you ever include your mobile number in a Gmail message/signature, they're going to have it anyway. – Mike Fitzpatrick Dec 19 '10 at 7:35
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    @Mike Fitzpatrick Obviously I don't include my number in emails.. I don't want it associated with my mobile phone number.. also it's not my main email address. Now listen man, I don't want that email address to be associated with my mobile number! – barlop Dec 19 '10 at 14:10
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    The better question to ask is "I don't have a phone, how do I get a gmail emailaccount?" (see More people have cell phones than toilets). It prevents the unavoidable discussion where people ask "why wouldn't you want share your private details with Google or any other commercial firm?" ;). – Abel Jan 6 '17 at 18:00
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There are several options available:

  • This form of verification only happens occasionally, so you could try creating another account.
  • You could try filling out the support form linked to on that page and select "I don't want to give my telephone number to Google" as the issue. If enough people do this, it may persuade Google to use some other means of verification. I'm not sure if they will activate it for you or not since I went with the last option:
  • Choose to verify by voice rather than text message, and enter in your phone number. While this does give them your phone number during the sign-up process, it seems like it isn't stored in your account. You can go to Google Account Settings > Change Password Recovery Options, and you will see that there is only an SMS section, and your phone number isn't stored there. It might still be stored in Google's database behind the scenes though.
  • If you are transitioning as part of the Google Apps upgrade process like I am, and your old account had Google Voice, you could enter its phone number, and Google will send the verification to that number.

Update: even if you verify by text message, the phone number won't appear in your settings.

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    i'm puzzled..SU says my question was asked in dec 2010 and that you answered it in sept 2010 ?! – barlop Feb 19 '17 at 10:38
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    It may have only been occasionally back in 2010, but here in the future, it's a standard operating procedure (SOP). – YetAnotherRandomUser Jul 8 '17 at 13:05
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    Oh it most definitely is stored in their database behind the scenes. How else would they connect the dots and keep track of you for better advertising revenue? Uh I mean spammer prevention of course. ;) – sdragnev Mar 15 at 15:09
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This is a measure that Google has put in place to try to prevent spammers signing up for hundreds Gmail accounts that they'll use and then throw away. It effectively limits one Gmail account per phone number. The only way around this is if you already have a Google account that they trust, you can then use that to create a Gmail address and account. Google accounts are not necessarily the same as Gmail accounts, you can create a Google Account using any email address that you already have.

Presumably, you already have another free webmail account from another provider, one that isn't linked to anything immediately personally identifiable? If so you can use that to sign up for a Google account.

  • Go to www.google.com (or your local version) and click on the Sign in link in the top right corner

  • Now click on Create An Account (or whatever they change the exact wording to today). And create the account with any email that you already have (Hotmail, Yahoo, etc)

  • Now go to your account, and you should see a list of the Google services that account is signed up for, along with a link saying something like "Try Something New" and the chance to sign up for a Gmail account.

  • Select that and it should take you to Gmail sign up as an already trusted user, and shouldn't require a mobile number any more.

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    not valid anymore :( – Krazy_Kaos Mar 2 '11 at 9:47
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    That reason makes no sense- they could just use a CAPTCHA – MadMaardigan Jun 27 '17 at 15:19
  • @MadMaardigan at a large enough scale, with a likelihood of even a slight financial return, captcha's aren't very effective. They're easily defeated by sitting a roomful of cheap labor in a cheap country in front of PCs and paying them pennies for passing hundreds of captchas at a time. Having a valid, fully setup unique phone number for each address is a bigger cost in time and money once you scale up to thousands of account creations. – GAThrawn Jun 28 '17 at 10:18
  • Actually, you can have multiple accounts per phone number. I have at least three. I think the limit is 10. – ale Jan 26 at 18:01
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The easy is to buy a phone card and use that particular phone number. Where I live, I can buy a phone card for less than $10.

If you go as far as asking a question to avoid this bit of privacy loss, I think you would do it...

Actually, Gmail uses this to prevent abuse of the system and prevent a robot from registering many accounts at once. As far as I know, they do not track your data with it.

  • I was hoping to sign up for free, but i'm interested in all options. Anyhow, last time I went into a shop.. a sim card was 10GBP(british pounds). That's over $15 – barlop Dec 19 '10 at 7:05
  • "Phone cards" are very different in different countries. In some places they are very cheap but must be periodically "recharged" for extra money; in other places there are only more expensive but free-er (as in freedom) choices. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 19 '10 at 7:26
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    @barlop, many UK mobile phone companies - O2 Orange T-Mobile Three - will provided two or three pre-pay/PAYG SIMs free by post. Google for "free sim". Many shops sell them for £1 - look in Tesco or Staples for example. You can receive calls and text messages without any further cost. – RedGrittyBrick Dec 19 '10 at 9:31
  • @RedGrittyBrick does that still involve giving your address? not very good for anonymity. it makes a link between your email address and physical address – barlop Dec 19 '10 at 14:03
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    @barlop: You don't need to give an address if you buy one in a shop. If you get one posted to you then yes you obviously have to give a postal address, it obviously doesn't have to be your home address. If your privacy is worth £1, buy in a shop, if not you'll have to be inventive about finding a postal address you can use. – RedGrittyBrick Dec 19 '10 at 15:05
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Ask a friend if they mind if you use their phone for that purpose.

If someone asked me if they could give Google my phone number, I'd be okay with it (they already have it!) even if I thought you were a bit paranoid.

  • What if your friend has already used their phone to validate their Gmail/Google account? – MrWhite Oct 10 '16 at 9:13
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    The problem is that Google may in the future request you to prove your identity by receiving a call or an SMS message at that phone number, so you have to make sure your friend continues to maintain that number and allows you to use it for that purpose. You also have to trust that they won't use the number to take over your account. – Flimm Feb 19 '17 at 9:31
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This Google Support page strongly implies you cannot create a Google Account without giving them a phone number.

You can create multiple accounts that use the same phone number, but they don't mention the actual number allowed on the support page.

That said, it doesn't actually have to be your phone number. It could be a friend's. Or, there are several services online that will let you receive SMS messages without a phone.

Of course, this will not help if they notice suspicious activity and what to message you to confirm your identity, or if you lose control of the account and need to recover it.

  • The bigger companies like Google and Twitter don't let you use sms verification services. – YetAnotherRandomUser Jul 8 '17 at 13:06
  • @Dan: That's not true. Google has been de-emphasizing SMS confirmation, but it's still an option. support.google.com/accounts/answer/3367674?hl=en – ale Jul 8 '17 at 14:01
  • When I say "sms verification service", I mean an anonymous web page that lets you send sms verification codes to it so you don't have to give them a real phone number. The decisions that led to that process in the link you posted are the problem: Google wants to make sure you give them a real phone number. – YetAnotherRandomUser Jul 16 '17 at 13:42

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