The ultimate guide to google contacts in 2020

Let’s start with the bad news: there’s no fully automated way to merge two or more Google accounts into one. If you have a G Suite at school or at work that’s going to be deleted and want to move the data to a different account first, need to use multiple accounts but hate switching between them, or if you just don’t want your email address to be sk8trgrrrl04
gmail.com anymore—there’s no quick and easy solution.

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Merging Google accounts is a manual process. You have to transfer data out of and into every individual Google product you use—Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and so on. Although this process is hardly painless, we've got the step-by-step instructions—along with a few helpful automated workflows—to help you accomplish the feat in less time and with fewer headaches than you might think.

Here's how to combine multiple Gmail accounts into one, and get all of your email, calendar events, and contacts in one place.


Want to merge multiple Google Drive or Google Photos accounts? We've got you covered in this tutorial on merging your files and photos into a different account.


How to merge Gmail accounts

There are two ways to merge Gmail accounts.

The first method is adding your old Gmail account to your new one, where you can send and receive emails from both accounts inside your new Gmail account. It’s ideal because it will automatically pull all of the archived emails from your old account into the new or main account, and it will allow you to send and receive email from both your old and new accounts.

Unfortunately, Google’s security measures make the first approach prone to error, so while it’s ideal, it may require a lot of troubleshooting.

The second method—moving your old emails to your new address and switching to only use the new account—requires less troubleshooting but isn’t as straightforward. While you’ll be able to receive emails from your old account in the new one, you'll need to use another email app to copy over your email archive and won’t be able to send emails from your old account’s email address.

Pick your poison, and follow the instructions below.


Option 1: Add your old Gmail account to your new Gmail account

Want to use both of your Gmail accounts through your new account? This is the option for you—and if it works, it's the best way to move to a new Gmail account. I recommend trying this approach first. If you run into a wall, abandon it and try option two. Here’s how to do it:


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1. First you need to set your old Gmail account to allow other apps to access your emails. To do that, log in to Gmail with your old account.

2. Click the gear icon, then select See all settings.


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3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, then select the Enable POP for all mail button in the POP Download section.

4. Then click the When messages are accessed with POP dropdown and select either archive Gmail’s copy to keep a copy of all emails in the old account, or delete Gmail’s copy to have emails in the old account deleted when they’re sent to your new account. (We strongly recommend the first option just in case—unless you're almost out of storage in the old account, which could cause issues when forwarding.)

5. Save your changes.


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6. Now that you've enabled POP access, you'll need to set your Google account to let POP apps connect to your Gmail account. That requires a slight tweak in your account's security settings. Open your Google My Account settings and navigate to the less secure apps page.

7. Click the slider to turn on the Allow less secure apps setting.


Troubleshooting: If the less secure apps page says This setting is managed by your domain administrator, it means your account manager (typically a school or employer IT manager) has disabled this option. If you’re not the administrator for the account, it’s time to abandon this approach and move to option two. If you are the administrator for the account, though, follow these instructions to enable less secure app access in your G Suite settings. Once you’ve adjusted the setting in G Suite, come back and try again, and it should work.


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8. You're finished with your old account—time to get this account added to your new Gmail account. Log out of your old Google account—or open a different browser—then log into Gmail with your new Google account.

9. Click the gear icon, then click See all settings as before.

10. Click the Accounts and Import tab, then click Add an email account link beside the Check email from other accounts label.

11. Enter the email address for your old account in the pop-over, then click Next.


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12. That'll open a new window that shows the email address you entered and asks for login details. Enter your entire old Gmail address—including the
.com extension—in the username section, and type in your old account's password.

13. Use the default settings for POP Server (pop.gmail.com) and Port (995).

14. Check the box next to Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail.

15. Check the box next to Label incoming messages. You’ll use this label later to create reminders to update your email address. Use the default label, or click the dropdown to create a new label.

16. Finally, click Add Account to combine the two accounts in Gmail. If everything works, jump ahead to the next steps below—if not, the troubleshooting tips below should help.


Troubleshooting: If the system repeatedly tells you that you’ve entered the wrong username and/or password—but you’re certain that you’ve entered it correctly—it’s erroring because you either have two-step verification enabled on your old account or because Google believes the attempt to access the account is malicious. The easiest way to resolve the problem is to enable two-step verification (if you haven’t already) and create an app password.


Connect old Gmail account with two-factor authentication


1. Open an incognito window (on Chrome, that's under File > New Incognito Window)—or open another browser like Safari or Microsoft Edge—so you don’t impact your current session. Then navigate to your Google My Account page and sign in with your old Gmail account.

2. Scroll down to the Signing in to Google section under the Security section.


3. If you have already enabled 2-Step Verification on your account, skip ahead to the steps below to create a unique App Password for your old Gmail account. Otherwise, to set up two-step verification, click the 2-Step Verification section under Signing in to Google.

4. Click the Get Started button, and verify the password for your Google account.


5. Add your phone number, and select if you want to receive the verification code via SMS or phone call.

6. Once Google sends you a verification code, enter the code and click Next.

7. Click the Turn On link to enable two-step verification for that account.

Now that you have two-step verification enabled, you need to create an app password to use instead of your general login credentials.


Create an app password:


1. Return to the Google My Account page.

2. Scroll down to Signing in to Google under Security as before.

3. Click App passwords in the Password & sign-in method section.


4. Choose Mail in the Select app dropdown, and select Other (Custom name) in the Select device dropdown. We're connecting your new Gmail account, so perhaps name the password New Gmail then click the Generate button.

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5. Copy the password.

Now, return to your new Gmail account's Add an email account window. This time, paste the app password into the password field instead of your Google account password. Click Add Account and this time everything should work.


Note: Keep a copy of your app password temporarily; you’ll need it in the next section as well. You won't likely need it after that, though.


6. There's only one final step. Gmail will send a confirmation code to your old email address. Open your old Gmail account again, find the confirmation email from Google, and copy the confirmation code—then switch back to your new Gmail account and paste it into the verification window.

You did it! You can now send and receive email from your old Gmail account in your new one. Click the Compose button in Gmail, and you can now choose to send emails from your old or your new Gmail address. And when you return to your new Gmail account's inbox, you’ll see all of the email messages from your old account are being imported into your new account—which could take quite some time if you have a lot of archived emails.

Don't want all of those old emails to fill up your inbox? You can set up a Gmail filter to automatically move those messages to a Gmail label where you can still easily find them when you need them. Wait a bit and make sure all your old emails are in Gmail, then here's how to filter them:

Add a Filter to Move and Archive Old Gmail Emails


1. Let Google finish its import, then open one of the emails from your old account. Click the More dropdown, and click Filter messages like these.


2. Delete the text in the From text field, and add your old email address to the To text box. Then, click Create filter with this search.


3. Check the box next to Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and the box next to Also apply filter to matching conversations. This will archive all of the old emails that are now in your inbox so that you don’t have to do it manually. Optionally, add a label to move these messages to a new label if you want—though each of your imported messages are already tagged with the new label you created earlier.


Now, when new messages come into your old account, you won't want those to get automatically archived too. So now you have to delete the filter you just created. This way any new email to your old account will arrive in your inbox.

Go ahead and click the gear icon again in your Gmail inbox view, and select See all settings. Click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, find the filter you just created, and click the delete link to delete it.

Tada! You now have access to all of your old account’s archived emails in your new account, and you can send and receive emails in the new account for both your new and old accounts. Now, you just need to work on updating your email address—jump ahead to the next section if so.

Or perhaps not. If that didn't work for you, it's on to option 2 where you can forward emails from your old account to the new one.


Option 2: Forward emails from your old Gmail account to your new one

If option one didn’t work for you, it’s not a total loss. With far fewer steps and permissions, you can have your old Gmail account forward all new emails to your new Gmail account. Here's how:


1. Log in to Gmail with your old account.

2. Click the gear icon, then click See all settings.


3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, then click the Add a forwarding address button.


6. Gmail will then send a confirmation to your new email account that you want to receive emails from this account. Log in to your new Gmail account, open the confirmation email, and click the confirmation link to initiate forwarding. On the confirmation page, click Confirm.

Now all new emails sent to your old email address will be automatically forwarded to your new email address. You’ll have to manually change your email address for each place/person still using it, but there are some ways to make that easier listed in the section below.

Back up and move your old Gmail emails

Keep in mind that this only forwards new emails your old Gmail account receives—not archived emails you received in the past. If your old account is going to be deleted but you need to have access to its archive, use Google Takeout to download an email archive. In fact, this may be the only step you need to take if your email account will be deleted anyhow. Here's how:


1. By default, Google Takeout will let you download a backup of your entire Google account—but we only want the old emails. So, on the Google Takeout landing page, click Deselect All to unselect everything that Google already chose, then check the box beside Mail to get just a Mail archive.


Notify people about your new Gmail address

Before losing access to your old Google account, you need to email everyone you know your new email address. One of the best ways is to add a furnituremaisak.com automated workflow that will automatically create a new task whenever someone emails your old address and reminds you to let them know about your new address. Or, you could have furnituremaisak.com automatically email the contact and let them know your new address without you needing to do anything.

First, make sure all emails sent to your old email address get a unique label when they’re received. If you followed all of the instructions in option one, this should be set up already. If you used the instructions in option two, create a rule to automatically label email sent to your old account:


1. Log in to Gmail with your new account.

2. Click the gear icon, then click Settings.

3. Click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, then click Create a new filter.


4. Enter your old email address in the To text field, then click Create filter with this search.


5. Check the box next to Apply the label, then click the Choose label dropdown and select New label.

6. Give your new label a name, and click Create, then click the Create filter button.

Now, each email sent to your old email address will automatically get a label when it lands in your inbox. Next, you can set up a furnituremaisak.com automated workflow—or a Zap as we call them—to add a task to your to-do list when an incoming email gets that label, reminding you to update your email address with the sending individual/company.


Here are some pre-made Zaps to help you set it up, but you can explore our App Directory to find the apps that you use most and create a custom workflow.


Want furnituremaisak.com to let them know automatically instead? Add a Gmail action to your Zap and have furnituremaisak.com send the sender an email—or use this Zap to speed things up:


How to merge Google Calendar accounts

If there's one other thing most closely linked to your Gmail account, it's your Google Calendar. Whenever you get an event invite in Gmail, it'll get added to your Google Calendar—as do upcoming flights, event tickets, and more. You'll want to take your old calendar along for the move as well.

To merge data from an old Google Calendar account to a new Google Calendar account, you'll need to export your old calendar, then import it into your new calendar. Here's how:


1. Log in to Google Calendar with your old account.

2. Click the gear icon, then click Settings much like in Gmail.


3. Click the Import & Export button on the left, then click the Export link on the bottom. Or, if you're still using the older Google Calendar interface, click the Calendars, then click Export calendars.

4. Find the ical.zip file in your Downloads folder and open it. Then, copy the .ics file to your desktop.

5. Log out of your old Google Calendar account, and log back in with your new Google account.

6. Click the gear icon, Settings and Import & Export (or the Calendars tab in the old Google Calendar). This time, click the Select file from your computer button under Import.

7. Select the .ics file you just downloaded from your old Google account. All of your existing meetings and events should now appear on your new account’s Google Calendar.

If you think there’s a chance that you’ll continue to receive new meeting invitations on your old account, turn on this furnituremaisak.com workflow to automatically copy new events created in your old Google Calendar to your new Google Calendar:


And with that, you're done. All of your email, contacts, and calendar appointments are in one place—your new Gmail account—and you'll still get any messages or appointment reminders that come into your old account. It's the best of both worlds.


Need to merge other accounts? Here's how to back up all of your web apps so you can merge your online storage, streaming music, CRM, and other apps.

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Originally published in February 2018, the most recent version of this article contains contributions from Elena Alston.


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