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Ask HTG: How Can I Set a Default Account When Using Multiple Google Accounts?

If you’re using multiple Google accounts simultaneously there’s a good chance that one of them is the one you want to default. When it isn’t the default it’s rather frustrating; read on as we show a reader how to ensure the account they want is the default one.

Dear How-To Geek,

I have multiple Google accounts. I have my personal account, I have a Google-managed work account, and my college recently switched to a Google-managed system. Up until a few weeks ago, whenever I loaded a general Google tool like Gmail or Google Calendar, it always defaulted to my personal Google account (the one I use the most).

Now, however, it defaults to my work account. I’ve looked in every menu of every individual Google account I have, in my Google dashboard, this way and that way, and I can’t find a single toggle, switch, or drop down menu in sight that lets me specify which account should be the default. What gives? Please don’t tell me I have to manually log in and out of all these accounts!

Sincerely,
Multi Login Lost

Well, you will have to sign out of all your accounts, but only once. Although it isn’t well documented, and nowhere in the configuration dashboard or menus is it even noted, there is a method to the multi-login madness. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that a few weeks ago something occurred that logged you out of your accounts and you had to log back in (major browser update, Windows update, a computer crash, you wiped your cookies, etc.) and that when you went to log back in you logged into your work account first.

That’s the hidden trick that’s not very well documented: whichever account you log into first when you’re using Google’s multi-login feature becomes your default account for the duration of the time that you’re logged into Google. Logging out of the default account switches the default to the next account in the list and logging out of all of the accounts resets the entire cycle such that the next login becomes the new default.

It would be nice if there was a future set-as-default feature, but in the mean time you’ll just need to remember to login to your desired default first.


 

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Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/21/14