Change Your Default Google Account

When using certain Google applications within your web browser, such as Docs or even Gmail, you will need to sign in to an account. However, sometimes the account you want to use won’t be set as the default for new tabs and apps. In this article, we will go through a few ways you can switch your default Google account. 

There are several benefits of having the correct default Google account; for example, when you open any new applications, they will go directly to the account you want. This means programs that use the default, like Google Calendar, will follow links correctly and put information in the right place. This prevents situations where work events go into your personal diary, for instance.

Although these methods will work for all of your Google accounts, some websites require Gmail accounts. You will also need to know the passwords for your accounts, as in some of these methods you will need to sign out and then sign back in.

The Official Way to Change Your Default Account

If you want to change your default account, Google does have an official method. This is to sign out and then back in again, as Google will use the first account you access as the default. You can also temporarily switch between accounts this way, as long as you are already signed in.

Your web browser will keep any settings and saved details, regardless of the account set as the default. However, you will have to re-enter any account details that aren’t saved and set to autofill. This could become a problem if you have many different accounts to pick from.

The first step in this process is to sign out all of your accounts. This can be done on any Google page, including Google.com, by selecting the account picture in the top right corner and clicking “sign out of all accounts.” There is currently no option for only signing out of one account, so make sure you know all of your passwords before doing this.

Accounts

After signing out, There will be a “sign in” button where the account picture was. This will give you a list with every account that you can choose, and an option to add another. To set the default account, you should first select the one you want to use and then log into any others for easy switching.

You can check it has changed correctly by opening up a new tab and going to Google. The account icon will be the one you selected as the default, and there won’t be any other changes to pages that are already open.

Changing Your Default Account The Official Way

  1. Select the accounts button
  2. Choose to “sign out of all accounts”
  3. Click to sign back in
  4. Sign in to the account you want to be the default
  5. Open a new tab to check it has worked

Using Different Profiles

If you find yourself regularly switching between default accounts, it may be worth using different profiles. Google Chrome uses profiles to allow multiple people to use different bookmarks, settings and accounts on one computer. However, you can also use this to separate your various accounts.

Using different profiles will take longer to set up than other methods, but doing it correctly will allow you to switch between accounts with just two clicks. This is ideal for anyone with many accounts that would need to be signed back in every time your default changes.

You can click the profile picture on the right side of the search bar to change between them. This should be accessible from any page in Google Chrome, and it will open a drop-down menu. Here you can select the option to add a new profile under “other people,” which will open a new window. 

In this new window, you can set up your second profile. First, give it a name and a picture, then sign into the Google account that you want to become the default. This can be tested by opening up any Google page and checking that the account selected is the correct one.

If the default Google account isn’t correct, follow the steps in the first method to change it within this profile. Once you have set the default, you will have the right account every time you switch to this profile.

You will need to set up this new profile from scratch, as nothing will carry over from the first profile. Although this will take some time, it does allow you to separate your bookmarks and saved passwords based on the accounts, which can prevent accidentally using a work account to access personal websites or vice versa.

After setting up the new profile, you can select it in the drop-down menu from before. This will open up a new Google Chrome window with a different default account already selected. At any time you can switch back in the same way, and it will change to the Google Chrome window that is already open.

Changing Your Default Account By Using Different Profiles

  1. Select the “profiles” button
  2. Add a new profile
  3. Enter your details
  4. Set the profile’s default account
  5. Go into that profile whenever you wish to change default accounts

Using an Extension

Chrome extensions allow you to add extra features to your profile, and most people will find they enhance the browsing experience. Although they can’t do everything imaginable, they can make it easier to do things like changing your active Google Drive or Gmail account. 

There are currently no options for directly changing your default account without going through the sign out process. However, there are options for simplifying the process of switching between accounts.

For example, the “Google account switcher into same window” extension alters how changing your Gmail account works. When you log in to Gmail as a different user it would normally open a new tab, but this extension keeps you on the same page. Although this isn’t directly changing your default account, it does make switching easier. 

Another extension that makes changing your Gmail account easier is the “Google app account switcher.” This allows attaching up to 10 accounts to key bindings. It doesn’t work in every app, but it will speed you up if you’re looking through many accounts or switching regularly. For example, you can quickly switch when in Gmail to view all of your messages.

Google Chrome has a tab for if you need to modify, add or remove any extensions. You can access this by clicking the three dots in the top right corner, selecting more tools and then extensions.  

Here you will find all of the extensions you have installed. To get more, you will need to click on the three lines in the top left corner, which will open a menu with a link to the Chrome web store. 

Within the store, you can search for extensions. Generic terms like “switch account” give plenty of different options that you can install to make it easier to change between Google and Gmail accounts or sign in quicker.

However, some extensions are malicious or can slow down your computer. A few developers have previously used these to steal user data or install malware, so you should always be sure you trust the source. You can also look at our articles on the best antivirus software and the best VPNs to help keep your files and devices safe.

Changing Your Default Account By Using Extensions

  1. Search the Chrome store for extensions
  2. Check the extension is trustworthy
  3. Follow the download instruction for the extension
  4. Test out how well the extension works.

Final Thoughts

If you just need to change your default google account after work or because you’re using someone else’s computer, signing out of all accounts and signing back into the main account first is an easy and quick way to ensure the correct account is in use.

However, if you are looking to change between accounts regularly and quickly, there are different options available. If you find it tedious to sign out every time you want to change your default accounts, using different profiles or a selection of browser extensions may just be the solution for you.

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As this is a problem with many different solutions, we suggest trying out each method for a few days to decide what works well for you. No single process can ever be the best for everyone, and sometimes a hands-on test is the only way to find out what you want.

How do you change your default Google account? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

FAQ

  • Why Is The Default Account Not Changing?

    Some users report that their default account doesn’t change to the first one they use to sign in. Although we couldn’t replicate this problem, you can fix it by closing Google Chrome after signing out and re-opening it to sign back in. If this still doesn’t work, we recommend contacting Google support directly.

  • How To Make A Google Account?

    On any Google web page, there is a “sign in” button in the top right corner, and the page it takes you to has a “create account” option. Here you can input your information to create a new Google account. Underneath the box for your email, there is an option to use a current email address, which allows you to use a non-Gmail account.

  • How To Make A Gmail Account?

    There are two main ways to create a Gmail account. The first in the same way you make a Google account, except instead of choosing to use a current email address, you can create a new one which will automatically end with @Gmail. You can also open a new account through Gmail itself, and this uses a similar system for creating google accounts.

  • What Are The Benefits Of Changing The Default Account

    By changing your default to the account you want to use for that session, you prevent two problems. The first is the time wasted by moving between accounts and checking you aren’t in the wrong drives or emails. Another issue that this prevents is you using the wrong account. Sending a personal email from a work account won’t happen if you set up your defaults correctly.

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3 thoughts on “How to Change Your Default Google Account in 2020”

  1. The information that the account you sign in to first will be the default is posted on every page I have ever found on this question, but it’s wrong. Google accounts seem to have an intrinsic ordering, probably alphabetically sorted on some internal ID. If I’m logged in to several accounts, always the same account will be the default, completely independent from the order in which I log in to the accounts.

    Sadly, out of my four regularly used accounts, the intrinsic ordering seems to be exactly in the opposite order that I would like them to be. I can be logged in only to my main personal and my main work account for weeks – as soon as I log in to a client’s account that I need to use twice a year, that account will be my default forever. Until I log out of all accounts, that is, because Google is unwilling or incapable of providing an option to log out of just one account (or provide a button to set the default manually, for that matter).

    I have learned which intrinsic priority ordering my Google accounts have, and I have verified multiple times that this priority list is strictly followed by Google, and not impacted by which subset of accounts I log in to, or in which order I do so. The only way of not having my least-used account be the default, is to not log in to it at all.

    1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

      My experience is different, for me it defaults to the order my Google accounts were created in. However, these fixes should help you.

      1. Thank you for the reply! That the accounts are ordered by creation date is entirely possible. I never tried to figure out which criteria the accounts might be ordered in, but I’m very sure that the order is fixed by Google and can’t currently be changed by the user in any way.

        The problem I have with the article is that the paragraph about the official solution is wrong. It implies that account priority is ordered by *sign-in* date, not by *creation* date, which is a crucial difference because the latter cannot be influenced after the fact. This leads to the effect I’ve described: for a specific set of accounts to be logged in to, the default account will always be the same one, regardless of the order in which the accounts have been signed in to, as the article describes.

        I almost suspect that the sign-in order *was* a way to fix this at some point in the past, going by the fact that every article on this problem repeats the same thing. But the fact is that it hasn’t worked for years, as evidenced by the comments most of those articles get.

        I appreciate the workaround solutions offered in the article, although they do also come with their downsides. For example, using separate profiles also means having independent sets of bookmarks, browsing histories, etc. so it really impacts the way the browser has to be used. My personal workaround for now is to only log in to my less-used accounts in private windows.

        To be honest, it’s a bit ridiculous that we even have to worry about coming up with these workarounds, for something that Google could fix by offering a “set as default account” option, or even just an option to sign out of a single account, instead of all accounts at once. It fits very well with the general opinion I’ve developed about the quality of Google software and their UX, though, so it would be very surprising if it wasn’t as poorly developed as everything else by them – and that’s my Google rant for the day =)

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