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Android: How to change the Google Account without a hard reset

I own an Android Dev Phone 1, also called ADP1. The phone prompted to setup a Google Account as the very first step, before I can start using it. For the Google Account, I used my credentials for Google Apps Standard Edition , though I also have a regular GMail account.

I supply my Google Apps credentials each time I wipe off (hard reset) the phone. Though optional, I wipe off the phone’s data whenever I update my phone with a new ROM. Following the official and non official upgrades, I’m currently running CyanogenMod 4.2.14.1 on my ADP1.

Then came a day when I did not want to wipe off the data but only wanted to change the Google Account associated with the phone.This was the day when I wanted to play with Google Buzz which requires a GMail or non Google Apps account. I googled around and found solutions suggesting:

  • Clear data for Gmail and Gmail storage under Manage Applications
  • Clear data for Google Apps and you will see a message in the Android’s notification bar to setup a new Google account.

None of these worked for me. What worked for me is as follows:

  • Goto Home (by clicking on the Home hardware button).
  • Click on Menu (hardware button)
  • Click/touch on Settings>Applications>Manage Applications.
  • Click on Google Apps.
  • Click on the button labelled “Clear data”
  • When prompted with “All information you’ve saved in this application will be deleted permanently”, click on OK
  • Subsequently, click on back button thrice and then click on “Data synchronization”. Alternatively, click on Home>Menu>Settings>Data synchronizaion.
  • This will start the wizard which will prompt for a new Google account. This wizard is the same that you would have seen when you first (after you bought it) powered on the phone or whenever you wipe off the phone’s data.

This is what helped me in testing out Google Buzz on Google Maps on my Android phone. In your case, this may simply help you in changing the Google Account without hard resetting your Android.

Update (February 14, 2009): After following the above procedure, I noticed that though my E-mails were syncing, I could not search my E-mails. Whenever I typed in a search keyword in the GMail app and clicked on the search button, I saw a message saying something as “E-mails will sync shortly”. This can be fixed as follows. Goto Settings>Applications>Manage Applications>Gmail. Click on “Clear data” button.

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70 comments for “Android: How to change the Google Account without a hard reset”

  1. [...] Google account from Apps to a regular GMail account as explained in this blog post – Android: How to change the Google Account without a hard reset. Subsequently,  I changed it back from GMail to Apps. Kept flipping the accounts several times. [...]

    Posted by Google Buzz on maps in Android | Shekhar Govindarajan's Blog | February 14, 2010, 1:52 am
  2. when i clear data on the apps
    will it clear all the data including the contacts
    will it lock the unlocked phone
    my phone grays out the sync when i try synching with the htc software

    Posted by v p | February 24, 2010, 7:29 pm
  3. when i clear data on the apps will it clear all the data including the contacts

    Not at the very moment (I guess), but when you change your Google Account your contacts from the new Google Account will sync, deleting your contacts (on the phone) that belong to the old Google Account.

    will it lock the unlocked phone

    No

    my phone grays out the sync when i try synching with the htc software

    HTC software? I know that many Android phone are from HTC but are you using any custom software from HTC to sync? Which Android phone do you own?

    Posted by Shekhar | February 24, 2010, 8:10 pm
  4. It says the T MOBILE-googles first model- firmware version 1.6 (hope not obsolete yet)and Im using it in Canada
    I want to keep the old contacts which i hv painstakingly added
    i was told by using htc sync s/w i can save them on outlook but i dont use outlook and the htc sync portion is greyed out
    without losing my contacts info in the contacts can i not change the gmail Shekhar?

    Posted by v p | February 25, 2010, 12:16 am
  5. It says the T MOBILE-googles first model- firmware version 1.6 (hope not obsolete yet)

    Don’t worry. Its not obsolete. 1.6 firmware is the latest for the first generation phones. Just for information, only very new phones (about a month or 2 old) come with 2.0/2.1 firmware

    I want to keep the old contacts which i hv painstakingly added

    Why don’t you export the contacts from your old GMail account to your new GMail account. You can do this by clicking on Contacts>Export in your GMail. And import the exported file into your new GMail account (Contacts>Import)

    Subsequently, when you change your account to the new GMail in your phone, all your contacts will sync.

    Posted by Shekhar | February 25, 2010, 12:52 am
  6. shekhar i dont have the original gmail pswd that the seller had input when selling this to me
    i tried yr method but in vain
    another qstn
    so i cant do all the things that developers can on this one right

    Posted by v p | February 25, 2010, 2:36 am
  7. shekhar i dont have the original gmail pswd that the seller had input when selling this to me
    i tried yr method but in vain

    Try ExportContacts which is a free app available from Android Market. It exports your Android contacts into CSV format onto your phone’s SD Card, which you can import into your new GMail’s contacts.

    Please note that ExportContacts is not tried and tested by me ;-)

    so i cant do all the things that developers can on this one right

    If your phone is rooted, you can use it as a developer’s phone

    Posted by Shekhar | February 26, 2010, 8:16 pm
  8. i was very anxious when i took the steps today after jotting down each detailed i saved …luckily phone works …unfor…like u said all contacts will have to be manually added….
    how do i know whether the phone is rooted n which free applications are a must have….i need one that allows me to take note while on a call
    and need a compass

    Posted by v p | March 11, 2010, 7:14 am
  9. how do i know whether the phone is rooted

    In the Android Market search for “root” and try to install and run any one of the apps which requires a rooted phone. If the app runs, your phone is rooted, else not. Simple ;-)

    i need one that allows me to take note while on a call

    While you can use any notes taking app (found under Productivity category in Android Market), I havn’t come across a free app which will attach the notes to the call and display the notes in the Call Log (ideally)

    and need a compass

    Search for compass in Android Market and you will find more than one!

    Posted by Shekhar | March 11, 2010, 11:28 am
  10. thanks boss
    how do i remove the icons after the downloads have 4-5 now taking the whole top screen and why does it show the E bar arrows up and down all the time does it mean that my data plan is getting used
    also the gmail that is sync-ed does not open..msg is your msg will appear shortly. on the top it says waiting for sync???

    Posted by v p | March 13, 2010, 6:41 am
  11. how do i remove the icons after the downloads have 4-5 now taking the whole top screen

    Didn’t understand this part. Please explain.

    and why does it show the E bar arrows up and down all the time does it mean that my data plan is getting used

    Yep it means data transfer is in action.

    also the gmail that is sync-ed does not open..msg is your msg will appear shortly. on the top it says waiting for sync???

    This happened to me too in the first go – when I tried other solutions as mentioned in the blog post.

    Please follow the steps mentioned in the post again.

    Do let me know

    Posted by Shekhar | March 22, 2010, 7:48 pm
  12. Oh my gooooodnesssss, thank you so much for this! I’ve been looking all over for someone to be able to come up with this. Thanks again!

    Posted by Bee Nguyen | June 18, 2010, 8:03 am
  13. Hi Bee,
    pleasure! Hope it worked for you and glad to know that you found this post useful :-)

    Posted by Shekhar | June 18, 2010, 9:55 am
  14. This is fantastic. Thanks alot, I gave my HTC tattoo to my baby and we’ve been looking for a way to insert her own gmail account but of all the suggestions we got, this is the best. Keep it up.

    Posted by Roy | August 18, 2010, 9:37 am
  15. hi shekhar,
    i am using a motorola cliq from t-mobile. i got it unlocked and using it in india. now motorola has released the android 2.1 update file.
    my question is, will it lock my phone if I update my phone, or will it result in any unwanted consequences.

    ~ayush

    Posted by Ayush | October 25, 2010, 9:50 am
  16. Hi Ayush,

    i got it unlocked and using it in india. now motorola has released the android 2.1 update file. my question is, will it lock my phone if I update my phone, or will it result in any unwanted consequences.

    I can’t tell you for sure since I don’t own/worked with this device. The unlock procedure varies from device to device and an update may or may not lock it again (depends on the update and the unlock procedure).

    My questions to you would be, did you unlock it yourself? Or someone else unlocked it for you? A quick Google search shows the unlock procedure to be as simple as http://hyfeno.com/unlock-motorola-cliq/

    Posted by Shekhar | October 26, 2010, 8:18 pm
  17. Ok, bought a HTC HD2 running android. But I cant get my google account on it. Tried your method and it didnt work. I cant get his google account off. I already put mine in and I get emails, and my contacts but I cant access the android market. What do I do???

    Posted by penelope | November 7, 2010, 5:08 am
  18. Hi penelope,

    But I cant get my google account on it. Tried your method and it didnt work.

    This method applies to only the phones running Android 1.6 or lower.

    I cant get his google account off.

    On your phone, try this. Goto Settings>Accounts & sync. Tap on the account that you want to delete. On the next screen tap on the Remove button.

    but I cant access the android market.

    The Android Market should start working now. Let me know :-)

    Posted by Shekhar | November 8, 2010, 6:01 pm
  19. hi sekhar
    i bought a used phone (a LG GW620 upgraded to froyo 2.2.1) and exactly as penelope, I can’t find a way to remove the old owner’s account. when trying, it says the account is used by some apps. I deleted all the apps data without success.
    if you have any idea…

    Posted by francois | November 29, 2010, 1:37 am
  20. Hi francois,

    I can’t find a way to remove the old owner’s account. when trying, it says the account is used by some apps. I deleted all the apps data without success.

    Try this, first add the new account and then try deleting the old account.

    If this doesn’t work, refer to this URL http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=595653

    Please note: the solution mentioned in the URL is not tried or tested by me. So you will have to take it up at your own risk. All the best.

    Posted by Shekhar | November 29, 2010, 3:55 pm
  21. Hi!

    I have followed your steps right down to hitting data synchronisation to start the set up for a new account – all my contacts have gone now though. How do I get them back?

    When I try to add a new contact I get this message ‘The process android.process acore has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.

    Would setting up a new account return my contacts or allow me to input new ones?

    N.B some of my contacts are there when I write a new text, I just cannot access any of them to make calls.

    Posted by Lianne | December 27, 2010, 1:18 pm
  22. Hi Lianne

    To start with, these steps apply to only phones running Android 1.6 or below. What phone and Android version do you have? You can find the Android version by going to Settings>About phone>Android version.

    all my contacts have gone now though.

    Can you check whether your Gmail or Google Contacts still have these contacts which are not showing on the phone.

    Would setting up a new account return my contacts or allow me to input new ones?

    If the answer to the previous question is positive, you should be able to get back your contacts :-)

    Posted by Shekhar | December 28, 2010, 9:56 pm
  23. Thanks for giving us those instructions. I needed that help, LOL

    Posted by Jack Durrant | January 14, 2011, 6:29 pm
  24. I am using Samsung Fascinate, and my Google Apps doesn’t seem to have ‘clear data’, and ‘clear cache’ button is greyed out. I did clear data for gmail and gmail storage. Are there any other solutions?

    Posted by Myung | January 22, 2011, 6:12 am
  25. Myung,

    I am using Samsung Fascinate, and my Google Apps doesn’t seem to have ‘clear data’, and ‘clear cache’ button is greyed out. I did clear data for gmail and gmail storage. Are there any other solutions?

    This method applies to only older phones running Android 1.6 or lower. Try the following:

    On your phone, goto Settings>Accounts & sync. Tap on the account that you want to delete. On the next screen tap on the Remove button.

    Posted by Shekhar | January 22, 2011, 7:03 am
  26. hi,
    i got my t-mobile mytouch 3g phn unlocked in hyderabd. n im using a vodafone sim in it!!! can u plz help me out wd d internet settings in it as im unable to use d net or surf anything… i changed ma google account but its not saving my new account… i hope u’ll help me asap…
    thanxxx:)

    Posted by SANI | February 28, 2011, 1:27 am
  27. hey there agn!!!
    i lost all my contacts in changing d google account!!!
    now i ended up with no internet connection, no google account, no contacts!!!
    even ma sim contacts do not get imported!!!
    plz help!!!

    Posted by SANI | February 28, 2011, 1:32 am
  28. help!!! it shows (the process android.process.acore has stopped unexpectedly. plz try again )
    HELPPPPPP!!!!!!!

    Posted by SANI | February 28, 2011, 1:38 am
  29. Hi SANI,

    can u plz help me out wd d internet settings in it as im unable to use d net or surf anything… i changed ma google account but its not saving my new account…

    Click on the Menu button. Goto Settings>Wireless and networks>Mobile network>Access Point Names. Click on the Menu button again and select New APN. On the next screen, type in Vodafone for Name and www for APN. Again click on the Menu button and select Save. Your mobile Internet should start working.Once it works, contacts from your Google accounts should sync and show on your phone.

    Posted by Shekhar | February 28, 2011, 2:05 am
  30. i am using samsung galaxy (vibrant) its runs eclair, and i dont see the option of clearing cache at all :( what am i missing?

    i have a few paid apps, im scared i will lose this if i go for a factory reset.

    Posted by helpmepls | March 4, 2011, 11:37 pm
  31. cleared data on google apps, but no luck.
    running 2.1, samsung vibrant

    Posted by helpmepls | March 4, 2011, 11:44 pm
  32. Hi helpmepls

    cleared data on google apps, but no luck. running 2.1, samsung vibrant

    The instructions in this blog post apply to phones with Android 1.6 or lower. On 2.1, try this. Goto Settings>Accounts & sync. Tap on the account that you want to delete. On the next screen tap on the Remove button. To add a new account, click on Add account. Let me know if this worked for you.

    Posted by Shekhar | March 5, 2011, 12:16 pm
  33. You also can try program Erazzer for android

    Posted by alek | May 7, 2011, 6:26 pm
  34. does anyone know how to get the google account and stuff off the phone because i bought mine from someone and its rooted from windows to an android. I tried the whole hard reset and everything and it didnt work :(

    Posted by peggy | May 17, 2011, 8:07 pm
  35. Hi, i was trying to remove my gmail account from my android (samsung galexy s) , i follow the instruction on this forum. but it keep show me a message on the screen:
    that the account is requestd by other application and i can only remove it by reinstall the phone to the menufacture defults .

    Please HELP .

    Posted by ofer | May 18, 2011, 3:23 pm
  36. Thank you very much for the info. I was trying to get rid of my old android google account and cant but thanks to you. Many thanks

    Posted by Joyce | June 21, 2011, 5:38 am
  37. [...] This will start the wizard which will prompt for a new Google account. This wizard is the same that you would have seen when you first (after you bought it) powered on the phone or whenever you wipe off the phone’s data. Update: After following the above procedure, I noticed that though my E-mails were syncing, I could not search my E-mails. Whenever I typed in a search keyword in the GMail app and clicked on the search button, I saw a message saying something as “E-mails will sync shortly”. This can be fixed as follows. Goto Settings>Applications>Manage Applications>Gmail. Click on “Clear data” button. Quelle [...]

    Posted by Zugangsdaten von Android Market entfernen? - HTC Sensation - Android Forum | June 30, 2011, 4:15 pm
  38. it worked. thanks for the info

    Posted by mervin olivera | July 4, 2011, 11:00 am
  39. hi. this didnt work on galaxy s 2. there is not a single “google apps” app in the applications manager but there are a lot of separate google related apps. i cleared the data of all of them but nothing happened. the account was not re-set. can anyone help how to reset google account in samsung android phone? thanks!

    Posted by Mox | July 4, 2011, 10:44 pm
  40. Thanks a lot!!! U save my day :-)

    Posted by Irena | July 13, 2011, 9:35 pm
  41. Hello there, I own an Android (Moment by Sprint) it was given to me by my brother, it was already used by him. He has a google sync account in the phone and out of nowhere someday I start getting notifications saying “please re-enter your password” the bad thing about this is that my brother forgot his password and I can’t get full access to my phone. It doesn’t let me use the Android Market and it doesn’t let me write in my calendar events. I need to know how to delete his account and put in my own. Please help me with this. :)

    Posted by Maria | July 16, 2011, 8:20 pm
  42. @ Maria. •Goto Home (by clicking on the Home hardware button).
    •Click on Menu (hardware button)
    •Click/touch on Settings>Applications>Manage Applications.
    •Click on Google Apps.
    •Click on the button labelled “Clear data”
    •When prompted with “All information you’ve saved in this application will be deleted permanently”, click on OK
    •Subsequently, click on back button thrice and then click on “Data synchronization”. Alternatively, click on Home>Menu>Settings>Data synchronizaion.
    •This will start the wizard which will prompt for a new Google account. This wizard is the same that you would have seen when you first (after you bought it) powered on the phone or whenever you wipe off the phone’s data.

    Posted by mervin olivera | July 18, 2011, 1:45 pm
  43. @mervin olivera
    that doesnt work, this phone came with a random account locked with the market application, i dont know the password for this account and there is no way of me finding out the password, there is no ‘Google Apps’button to click on under Manage Applications. I dont know what to do and i dont know what applications are from google

    Posted by Joel | July 20, 2011, 3:33 pm
  44. If I do this will it delete my contacts, messages, and photos?

    Posted by Maria | July 20, 2011, 9:35 pm
  45. Great news everyone!

    In the newest version of Android Market you can swap Google accounts. If the new UI is not available in your country, you can download it here: http://www.techfreakstuff.com/2011/07/download-install-new-android-market-ui-phones-android-2-2.html

    Add your second Google account (one with the paid apps) in the settings, then go to the new Android Market and swap the account from the menu.

    After you reinstall the paid app you can remove the second Google account and even roll back to the original Android Market app.

    Enjoy!

    Posted by pmeus | July 21, 2011, 11:26 pm
  46. Hi. I bought used HTC Tattoo with 1.6 version of the phone system.

    It had the previous owner’s gmail account on it. I tried the steps explained above to clear the previous account and set my own, but it doesn’t work. I don’t have an access to the Android Market either.

    Somewhere at the end of the setting up a new account process the phone shows “Can’t establish a reliable data connection to the server”. I use a strong WiFi to enter the Internet and I’m sure it’s not because of poor internet.
    It also says: “Your SIM may not be provisioned for data services”, but I do not use the internet connection via mobile operator.

    Can somebody help me with some advice?

    Posted by Borovinka | July 22, 2011, 6:19 pm
  47. I have a simple tutorial how to remove your GMail account on Android Market without doing Factory reset. OK, follow this step :

    1. Download Root Explorer from Android Market
    2. Explore to /data/system/ and find this file : accounts.db
    3. Delete that file (accounts.db)
    4. Reboot your Android device.
    5. Walla…you can register another account

    Posted by fjam2q | July 27, 2011, 8:53 am
  48. fjam2q, thanks for the advice, but I cannot enter the market – I don’t know the previous owner’s gmail account pass…

    Any other ideas?

    Posted by Borovinka | August 4, 2011, 12:57 am
  49. Thanks much, fjam2q, that worked perfectly and saved me a ton of time!

    Posted by Kevin Maloney | August 7, 2011, 4:32 pm
  50. fjam2q you are a genius! thanks so much! =]

    Posted by Yoav90 | August 12, 2011, 9:31 pm
  51. fjam2q, thanks for the advice, but I cannot enter the market – I don’t know the previous owner’s gmail account pass…

    Any other ideas?

    Posted by fehmina | August 17, 2011, 2:33 pm
  52. i just bought htc desire … its second hand ….. i wanted to know how can i check wat ver. of android is it using and also which ver. should i install on it …… n is there any way to keep the paid games like nfs shift …… will really appreciate ur help …… asap thanx

    Posted by fehmina | August 17, 2011, 2:35 pm
  53. fehmina,

    i wanted to know how can i check wat ver. of android is it using

    Settings>About Phone>Android Version

    Posted by Shekhar | August 18, 2011, 12:40 pm
  54. i have a hd2 running android 2.3. i cant get the old users gmail account off and therefore cant access the market or google because its asking for *their* password but does not allow me to change the actual email. i tried removing theirs and it says i have to do a factory reset to remove account. my question is, when i do a factory reset will it remove the installed android system and put window back on?

    Posted by julie | August 23, 2011, 11:02 pm
  55. i dont know what to do.. its still coming up with ‘you dont have a connection’
    but i do have internet and i have tried using my wireless too.

    Posted by ashlee | August 26, 2011, 8:20 pm
  56. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    I have a simple tutorial how to remove your GMail account on Android Market without doing Factory reset. OK, follow this step :

    1. Download Root Explorer from Android Market
    2. Explore to /data/system/ and find this file : accounts.db
    3. Delete that file (accounts.db)
    4. Reboot your Android device.
    5. Walla…you can register another account

    Posted by fjam2q | July 27, 2011, 8:53 am

    Posted by Inet User | August 27, 2011, 4:08 am
  57. Hey in finding it hard to remove a gmail account because there is no Google app to clear

    Posted by mike | September 12, 2011, 6:22 pm
  58. i’m using samsung galaxy s5670..i cant find ‘google apps’ under manage application..please do help me..

    Posted by sana | October 25, 2011, 3:02 pm
  59. unlock

    Posted by Pankaj Narzary | November 10, 2011, 10:53 pm
  60. There is no googleapps in Android 2.3.4 – at least no on my device. The method above worked great for me!

    1. Download Root Explorer from Android Market
    2. Explore to /data/system/ and find this file : accounts.db
    3. Delete that file (accounts.db)
    4. Reboot your Android device.

    Posted by kgingeri | December 5, 2011, 2:11 am
  61. Pls help me. Im using htc g1. android 1.6. I’ve changed my gmail account without taking back up of the contacts of syncing it to the previous gmail account. i’ve changed it by deleting google data in the phone application. Setting\applicatons\manage applications\….then deleting the google data.now all the contacts are gone. I cant recover them. Pls help me with it. its very important to me.

    Posted by Rashed | December 31, 2011, 10:39 am
  62. Will I loose my apps I downloaded associated with my original google account? I have two accounts on my phone and I want to switch to my secondary account and delete the primary. I don’t feel like downloading half my apps again.

    Posted by Casi | April 15, 2012, 1:36 am
  63. Thanks for creating this post! I would never have figured that out myself.

    Posted by Greg | May 10, 2012, 9:56 pm
  64. Hi,i just bought the galaxy S infuse 4G but there was already a google account on it from another person so i cant get into the google play store. I want to erase that account to add mine but i can’t. I tried to do the first thing,but it doesnt work.
    Any help please ?

    Posted by Mei | August 11, 2012, 8:34 pm
  65. ok I have an lg optimus and two days ago I deleted my gmail account forgetting it runs all my stuff on my phone play store YouTube ext. and now I cant use any of that so I created a new gmail account so I’m wondering how to either reactivate my previous account? or set my phone to my new account? which would be easier? can anyone help me? in a simple way I’m not a computer genius.

    Posted by Zach | January 26, 2014, 6:27 am
  66. I was struggling with this same problem, however, I have found a VERY simple solution.

    Step 1: Turn the phone off.
    Step 2: Turn the phone on.
    Step 3: Pull down your shade.
    Step 4: Click on the red & white triangle
    Step 5: Enter password.

    Posted by Dave | February 1, 2014, 7:07 pm
  67. Zach

    First I apologise about a late (very late) response. Your comment was caught in spam for some reason.

    so I’m wondering how to either reactivate my previous account?

    It would be easier that you reactivate your previous account. In case you opted for (during the phone setup), this may even automatically install all the apps that you were using.

    Also, if you go with a new google account, any purchases that you had made in the play store will be lost.

    Posted by Shekhar | February 17, 2014, 3:21 pm
  68. Hi all,

    please let me announce this app that could be very useful if you need to move a contact saved on your phone to one of your GMAIL accounts (keeping is synchronized).

    It’s downloadablea at this link:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.ale.phone2google

    Best regards
    Ale

    Posted by Ale | February 28, 2014, 11:10 pm
  69. What this did not work for me can you email me and be more specific on how to do this because i tried but it did not work.

    Posted by flaremonk1 | March 25, 2014, 8:53 pm
  70. Hi flaremonk1,

    What this did not work for me can you email me and be more specific on how to do this because i tried but it did not work.

    This is an old blog post and does not work on new versions of Android. Which phone or version of Android are you using?

    Posted by Shekhar | April 7, 2014, 7:42 am

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