Gmail is bothering me lately with this message:

Hey, this is important: We don't have a password recovery email address or phone number for your account. If you lose access, we may not be able to help you.

It is common to use the recovery email address to gain access to another account, and same can be said on the mobile phone.

Should I supply Google with these details? What if my phone is stolen, can I inform Google of that change?

  • 1
    Even if your phone is stolen.. you are not losing the phone number.. but the device..! You can simply get the same number.. after canceling the first one :D
    – Lipis
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 11:08
  • 2
    @Lipis - true, but then when someone steals your phone they get access to your mail, at least for a while. This can be dangerous if you own a domain, or use a service like PayPal. Good point though. I think I'm going for it.
    – Kobi
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 11:31
  • well then the phone number is the last thing that you would care about.. it's really cool security feature.. and try not losing your phone!! :D
    – Lipis
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 11:53

2 Answers 2


I'd add the phone first, before an alternate email. Phones are harder to hack than email accounts, after all. If you lose your phone (by theft or otherwise) just log in ASAP and delete the number. (I just tested; you can delete it just by saving with an empty text input.) You can also temporarily set the number to a trusted alternative.

  • Also be sure to keep a screen unlock password / pin / pattern , so if you lose your phone whoever finds it will not get access to your data even if they quickly remove your account from device and can use them for themselves they will take the data along with it (encrypt your device) .
    – arana
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 19:02

Yes, I believe you can change the set number at this page:


And yes, I think add the phone number if you don't have an email address that you can use for a recovery email. Otherwise, just use an email address and set it as the recovery email, unless the account is super-important in which case putting the phone number would be a good idea!

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