I have two Gmail accounts:

  • The embarrassing one I set up as a teenager, let's call it [email protected]
  • The serious one I set up as a young adult for job applications etc, let's call it [email protected]

When I first set these up, I linked them so that I'd only have to check one inbox to see all my emails. Because at the time, I was used to using [email protected], had used it for site logins, etc., and it was what my friends, family and other accounts used, I set that up as the account I'd be logged into:

So, I can be logged in on my browsers and android devices to all those Google accounts - such as Google Drive, Android, Google Play, and Google logins on sites like SE - that are part of the [email protected] Google account, and that account's Gmail is set to send and receive emails via the newer, more respectable [email protected] name.

I thought this worked fine - but then it turned out to be a big mistake. To my horror, I saw things like this creeping in to serious email conversations, even though the sending email account was set to be [email protected]:

From: [email protected] On Behalf Of [email protected]

Sent: 25 February 2016 10:55

To: [email protected]

Subject: Serious financial matters

Not a great first impression.

How can I switch the priority of two previously linked Gmail accounts, so that [email protected] is the primary account and no mention of [email protected] can creep in unless I manually send from that account - but I can continue to be logged in to all the peripheral stuff linked to my original [email protected] Google account?

I've seen lots of guides on how to do the initial linking of the accounts, but not how to switch the linking around once it's done.

  • It's really a question of reaching out to all those accounts/services/people who are using the old account and get them to use the new account. There's no big mystery, and no magical way to do it all in bulk.
    – ale
    Mar 11, 2016 at 12:04
  • That's not what I'm asking for. There are maybe one or two hundred people, accounts and mailing lists associated with the old email account. Even after days' work updating them all, not everyone (especially older relatives) acts on "please use this email address and forget the old one" messages, and not all web services allow the registered email address to be changed. Switching the priority of the inboxes, however, will solve the problem instantly. Mar 11, 2016 at 12:29
  • Then your question is unclear. You just need to "unlink" your accounts and repeat the original process, but switching the accounts.
    – ale
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:51
  • @AlE. If that answers the question, feel free to post the steps as an answer. Mar 11, 2016 at 17:09
  • How did you link your accounts in the first place?
    – fetsh
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


I couldn't find any clean way of doing this so I've settled for simply having the old account forward to the new account, then, logging in to both everywhere, with the old account as the default Google account on my devices and the new Gmail account as second Google account I use for and email only.

Took a bit of work and isn't entirely straightforward or convenenient, but it works in as far as it removes the embarrasing email address from my outgoing mail while still letting me use my other Google account features and check only one inbox:

  • First, doing it this way, you need to log out of your Google accounts and log back into them in this order, and do it in this order each time when using a new desktop/browser:
    1. Log into the old Google account first, so that it's the "default account" for all those other Google services
    2. Then log into the newer Gmail account, using "Add account" from clicking on the round avatar thing in the gmail.com top right hand corner, so it's logged in to both with this as a secondary "additional account"
  • There doesn't appear to be a clean way to have Gmail in a browser treat a non-primary Google account as the default inbox, so I'm resorting to simply bookmarking the Gmail page for the other inbox, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox (/1/ not /0/ means inbox for the second logged in account), and remembering to go to that bookmark instead of just Gmail.com which will redirect to the first account
  • In the Gmail app on my Android devices, I've added the newer email address and - since I've set the old one to forward to the new one - turned off notifications and syncing for that older account's Gmail settings only (since signing out would sign out of all the other Google services)
  • Then, to see any emails sent to the old account in the new account's inbox, it's a matter of having the old account forward emails to the new one instead of visa versa using its settings from Gmail in a browser. I'm using forwarding because for some reason Gmail's "Check email from other accounts" feature isn't working for my accounts, which appears to be a common problem looking at the Google messageboards.
  • I always have a pinned tab open to Gmail. You could do the same with the account that you want to use for Gmail, then you wouldn't have to worry about a bookmark.
    – ale
    Nov 22, 2016 at 15:59
  • If a bookmark is still for you, you can define exactly which account it's for. See: Is it possible to bookmark a Google calendar or inbox for a specific account?
    – ale
    Nov 22, 2016 at 16:01
  • Great tip, thanks! I'm trying the pinned tab, too, but it's not as convenient as I'd hoped since it's hard to open emails in a new tab - the contents of the pinned tab keeping moving around Nov 22, 2016 at 16:41

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