Do you ever get confused as to which Gmail, Google Drive, or Google Calendar account you’re using? Have you tried to join a Google Meet call for work, only to be rejected because you were accidentally in your personal account? Yeah, it happens to us too. All. The. Time. Fortunately, Google makes it easy not only to switch between accounts but to set a different account as your default.

How to change your default Google account

On the web

If you’re already logged in to your Google account on the web (whether you’re in Gmail or another Google app), here’s how you can switch between accounts.

  1. Open a Google app in your browser of choice.
  2. Click on your avatar (photo of you or your initials) in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. You should see a dropdown showing all of the Google accounts that you’ve used to login on this browser. Select the one you want to switch to.

That’s it! A new browser tab will open with your secondary account app. If you want to change which of your Google accounts is the default account so that whenever you open a Google app in a new tab this will be the account that opens up by default, here’s what you want to do.

  1. Open a Google app in your browser of choice.
  2. Click on your avatar (photo of you or your initials) in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. You should see a dropdown showing all of the Google accounts that you’ve used to login on this browser. At the bottom of that list, click on Sign out of all accounts.
  4. Sign back in with the account you want to be your primary account.

Now any Google app you open will default to the new primary account. Of course, you can still easily switch between accounts using the method we went over in the first section.

Another way that you can quickly tell which account you are in (and I discovered this recently with a Google Meet mixup) is to look at the URL string in the browser navigation bar. If you see authuser=0, that is what Google thinks is your primary account (for me, my personal one). In this case, I wanted to log in with my Android Central account, so I just quickly changed that to authuser=1. Then I was in the correct account (you can also just click on the avatar as I mentioned in the first section, but I thought this was a cool discovery, so indulge me in this please).

On Android

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Google/Google Settings.
  3. Tap on the dropdown arrow next to the current default Google account.
  4. Tap a different account.

In my opinion, there’s not much reason to change default accounts on your phone, as you can add multiple Google accounts to any Google app. Just be careful which account you are sending messages or setting appointments in!

Other things to note

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend setting unique avatars for each Google account you own. I prefer to use personal photos but to each their own. That way, you can easily see which account you are in at a glance, and won’t get confused by seeing initials with a different colored background.

Another thing that helps me out, at least as regards to Gmail, is that I like to keep both my personal and work Gmail accounts open in separate tabs. This way, whenever I want to start a new message, I know exactly which account I’m sending it from.

A final note: you can actually log into Chrome from one of your accounts, and that will dictate which is your default account in the browser. Personally, I log in to Chrome from my personal account so that I can keep all of my bookmarks and history, and then I log in to work accounts separately at the tab/app level.

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