Change Gmail/Google account password on Android phone

After a recent security issue with one of the social networks, I thought I would play it safe and also change my GMail password not really thinking about what impact that may have on my Android phone. True enough, my email stopped syncing on the phone soon after changing the password online. After spending seemingly hours trying to find a way to change my password on the phone (thanks Google – has it really not crossed your mind that someone may actually want to do this?), all that was left was a factory reset. Before you go hell for leather and reset your phone, stop!!

  1. First of all, backup your phone… how? Download the app “My Backup” from Google Play (was Android Market) – backup both your data (I only did SMS, MMS, contacts and call log) and your apps & media (photos, videos, apps, etc). My Backup is free for 30 days so good enough for a one-off backup & reset but the paid for version is only about £3.50 so might be worth a buy
  2. The actual backing up process is very straight forward – open up My Backup, click on the Backup option and just go from there. Don’t forget to backup to the SD card.
  3. Once you have backed up the phone, go to Applications > Settings > Privacy and click on Factory data reset. DON’T SELECT THE FORMAT USB STORAGE option!! Click “Reset Phone”
  4. Sit back, enjoy and when you have restarted your phone, enter your GMail account details and your email should be back up!!
  5. Now, go back to Google Play, download My Backup again, open the app, click Restore, select the restore you want to use and carry on. A couple of restarts later, and your data and media will be all back in place although any phone settings may still need to be manually done (I wasn’t brave enough to back those up!).

As a sub-note, although I backed up the apps, I couldn’t restore them using My Backup because my phone was set to only install apps from Google Play. You may need to change that option in your phone settings, otherwise, just download them again. I used the opportunity to have a bit of an app clear out.

Other things I found on forums that didn’t work to sort out this problem:

  • Going in to Google Play and having a username and password box appear
  • Removing the Google account and re-adding – you can’t do this with your primary account
  • Clearing app data for Google applications

Although a reset seems a bit drastic (and it really is for such a simple action as changing a password), using My Backup as part of the process makes the whole thing much, much easier. I was back up and running in 20 minutes.

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