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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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

    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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. unlock

    Posted by Pankaj Narzary | November 10, 2011, 10:53 pm
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Thanks for creating this post! I would never have figured that out myself.

    Posted by Greg | May 10, 2012, 9:56 pm
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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:

    Best regards

    Posted by Ale | February 28, 2014, 11:10 pm
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. I bought a used Alcatel onetouch Nova LTE. I trusted the person i bought it from, stupid me. Because now cannot contact them at all. My problem: upon powering up phone… It says this device was reset, please enter the prevuous google account used to syn phone. —- like i said i cannot get in touch with that person they left country or something lol. Plus i did a complete reset and cleared partition whatever that is by leaving phone OFF and holding power button along with volume buttons. It said reset complete…. But goes right back to a google start up screen asking for the previous google account. There is NO way to bypass this at all. None! Any advice for me how to get into this darn phone? I know, i know its a crappy phone why did i buy it. Oh well. Point is i cant get into the phone, what to do? I did take out the sim card in case it was doing somerhing but that didnt work either. Please help

    Posted by sonya | August 13, 2015, 8:42 am
  22. Hi Sonya,

    Is there a MicroSD card plugged into the phone? If yes, try the process of hard reset after removing the card.

    Posted by Shekhar | August 20, 2015, 4:36 pm
  23. Hi .. I reset my gotog3 now .. Now its asking already synced gmail account but i forgetted it wat to do ??

    Posted by gocool | October 10, 2015, 8:08 am
  24. Hi gocool

    Hi .. I reset my gotog3 now .. Now its asking already synced gmail account but i forgetted it wat to do ??

    I’m assuming that you forgot the gmail password. To recover it, please goto http://www.gmail.com and click on “need help?” link

    Posted by Shekhar | October 12, 2015, 12:05 am
  25. Hi i need some help i was given a phone an htc desire 526 but before i started using the phone i did a hard reset to have the phone cleared from everything so i can use it fresh but when i did that now it asked for the synced account wich i dont have and the person that gave me the hone i no longer have contact with is there any posible way to bypass this option???? please help


    Posted by freddie | October 28, 2015, 2:08 am
  26. I have a htc desire /android phone that i accidently deleted my gmail account ,it took awhile but my husband finally was able to locate it and reset the password but it also is locked.He has been trying to do a factory reset and not having any luck,can u please let me know if there is an easier way when we can only get as far as having a message pop up to enter your google login username and password and then it connects to wifi,,but that is as far as we get?

    Posted by Misty | November 24, 2015, 11:32 am
  27. How you doing? I’ve recently purchased an HTC desire 626 from a craigslist ad,the phone was hard reset but now I’m being greeted with “this device was reset.to continue,sign in with a Google account that was previously synced on this device” the guy I purchased it from hasn’t been answering his phone and now I’m stuck.any advice you can offer as to get past this?

    Posted by Corey | January 30, 2016, 4:42 am
  28. I have a samsung note 5 I just bought off the streets and when I got home charged it it was factory rested it says there is a google account sycned to the device and I can’t get past it does anyone know how I may be able to do that thanks agion

    Posted by Jeffery | June 29, 2016, 11:16 am
  29. Hot do I get into my gmail if I don’t remember that l:)

    Posted by Alyssa | July 6, 2016, 3:13 pm
  30. How can I change a previous owner’s gmail after a factory reset.

    Posted by Brian | September 6, 2016, 10:48 am

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