Googlemail changes to Gmail but snarls up Android phones

gmail-logo As announced earlier in the week, Google are bringing their gmail email addresses to the UK – a copyright dispute meant that the unwieldy 'googlemail' had to be used on these shores instead.

But if you've got an Android phone, the change could send your world spinning into meltdown. Avid Bitterwallet reader Munkeycop is a mobile phone repair guru and has explained what's going on and how you can sort it…

“All day yesterday I was unable to download any Android apps from the marketplace, it was very annoying. The phone would constantly say 'preparing download' and that was it, there wasn't even an error message. It turned out the problem wasn't with the phone but it was to do with a change that Google made to their email service this week.

All over the world is known as, here in the UK it is called due to a copyright dispute. However, Google sorted out the legal stuff and this week offered all UK users to move over to a gmail address. They claimed the switch over would be seamless but it would seem that they've overlooked Android handsets.

Once I changed over to my HTC Desire was suddenly unable to download apps from the Android Marketplace. The issue is with the 'Talk' application on the handset (Talk is Google's equivalent of Windows Instant Messenger). When downloading from the marketplace, in the background, 'Talk' signs in on your Google email address and that is what authenticates the handset to commence the download.

500px-android-logosvgIn my example it was still signing in on my old address but this no longer existed (I was also getting an error message stating that Google Talk would not authenticate, a telltale sign of this problem). This is why I was unable to download anything.

What doesn't help is that there is no option on the handset to change the settings for the Talk application; you are stuck with the settings you already entered when you set up the phone for the first time.

So either you A) remove your account from your phone then add the new gmail address. The problem here is that removing your account from your phone requires a full phone reset, this involves losing EVERYTHING on your phone and starting again from scratch. Not good.

or B) go into your google email account settings (via a computer, not your handset) and switch back to your old address. The second I did this and restarted my handset's internet connection the applications started downloading again.

In order to refer Gmail back to

  • On a computer, log into your gmail.
  • Click Settings (top right)
  • Click Accounts and Imports
  • At the bottom, next to 'Change Account Settings', click on 'Google
    Account Settings'.
  • On the opened page it will tell you near the top whether you have a
    gmail or googlemail address.
  • Go back to the previous page, next to 'send mail as' there is a small
    'switch to gmail?' link, click this.
  • Then, click the link that says 'go back to googlemail', then on the next
    page click the next button to confirm (I think it's the big blue
  • Then click on the 'Google Account Settings' link from the earlier step,
    this should now confirm you are back on a googlemail account."

So in summary, anyone thinking of going Gmail who owns an Android phone should think twice. Thanks Munkeycop!


  • gary m.
    My gmail address has worked on my android phone ( HTC Hero ) since i bought it 5 months ago. I have never had a googlemail address , and i am a uk resident.
  • Joe S.
    Gary - this would be the case if you were one of the first people to get a Google email address in the UK (within just under a year of it launching). I too have a gmail address, and always have. They didn't switch over people who had an account already when the legal issue came up.
  • Alan S.
    I too have had a Gmail address since 2004 when the beta first launched. Never once had to use a googlemail address. And my Android phone works fine. Clank! Clonk! Waaarp!
  • Munkeycop
    Yeah you guys would be fine because you havn't changed your account in the last week. This will only affect those (like me) who got lumped with a googlemail account and then took up Google's super-shiny new offer to get a gmail account like the all cool kids have. They said it would all pan out fine but once the switch was done my Android phone was borked so I had to change back. The daft thing is that the whole excersize was pointless anyway as it turns out people can still send email to me using the gmail address and I will get it anyway. Bah!
  • Guybrush T.
    I've always had a address and when requseting vouchers or offers have had them delivered to and to and too I didn't realise this problem still existed.
  • Ant
    In my experience, even if your email is supposedly [email protected], mail sent to [email protected] will still get there.
  • Dan M.
    googlemail and gmail are the same and can be used interchangeably. I registered for a googlemail account, eg [email protected], but whenever I give my email address I use [email protected] . So there is no need to actually "change" or "switch over" to gmail - you already have it, and can just leave your android phone as is.
  • Ed
    No copyright dispute, only trademark dispute. Srsly folks, different types of IP are NOT interchangeable!
  • lucy
    I had a UK @gmail address, then got married and acquired a new @googlemail address in my new name. I've always known that @gmail and @googlemail were interchangeable for receiving e-mails, but I welcomed the switch to @gmail so I can SEND from @gmail. Yes, this has now borked my Android phone as some services try to authenticate me as [email protected], while others happily use [email protected] Have tried resetting my Google account back to and resetting accounts used on the phone, but still cannot sign in to Google Talk, download from the Marketplace or receive push e-mails - manual refresh works fine. A real mess.
  • Harry B.
    I just wish I had not touched anything! It has all gone wrong and trying to change things back has made things worse!!!!! A NIGHTMARE! And not the first time Google has screwed up - remember the HTC Hero ROM update fiascos?? This is worse, as I have lost all my data whill will not sync properly to my phone any more from my Gmail account!
  • Mick
    Nice one! I was tearing my hair out as to why my downloads wouldn't download! Reset back to a googlemail address, and everything suddenly began downloading! Nice tip!
  • roym
    hmm, i started having this problem yesterday. a quick trawl and i see this has been flagged up for a while and still nothing from google. how rubbish
  • Ida
    I tried to switch back to googlemail following those instructions but my account is still [email protected] :-( Any other solutions - I definitely do not want to reset my G1 but use the Talk quite a lot!
  • tameruk
    Thanks for this! What a pain... @Ida - I discovered that I had to resubmit my change from gmail to googlemail (or vice versa) TWICE in order for it to take effect. Might be worth trying...
  • Dave
    "but I welcomed the switch to @gmail so I can SEND from @gmail. " You can set up your account to do that anyway. My googlemail account can send from either,, or even
  • Ongoingworlds
    I've had the same problem since changing from googlemail to gmail, and I'm glad that I found this article! I want to convert back to googlemail, and I've followed your instructions however where you say "Go back to the previous page, next to ’send mail as’ there is a small ’switch to gmail?’ link, click this." ...I don't have this option. Any ideas how else to change it back?
  • jneill
    +1 yep my HTC Hero started having problems downloading from Android Market. Changing back to @googlemail (and restarting the phone) cured the problem.
  • Mimi x.
    Hey guys. i found this INCREDIBLY helpful and now my phone is working perfectly again!! :D but for those who had troubles these are the steps: 1. Click "settings" in the top right corner of the page (log in first) 2. Then go on the "Accounts and import" tab 3. Then there is a tittle that says "send mail as" 4. there will be a small link that say switch to ***, or if your are with google mail it will say switch to gmai. 5. click the link and your done! x
  • Mike
    Hmm. I don't see the link to switch back to gmail next to "Send Mail As". I changed over a week or two ago and only just noticed it has buggered up my Android phones Market Place app. Is there a time limit on changing back? Can anyone provide me with the direct url?
  • Jym
    Just go into Settings > Applications > manage applications > Google Apps > clear data and Clear cache and then you can sign in using the new gmail account. This does not involve losing everything and it resynchronises very quickly
  • Chris
    Cheers for posting this, bloody gmail was just getting right on my wick! Fixed, virtual beer for you sir :)
  • Robert M.
    I've been all over trying to find a fix for this and this is what worked. Thanks a million! No thanks to Google though Grrr :-)
  • Googlemail w.
    [...] anyone else who experiences this problem bitter wallet have compiled instructions for how to fix it (I’ve not tested them I haphazardly found the [...]
  • Sev C.
    "So either you A) remove your account from your phone then add the new gmail address. The problem here is that removing your account from your phone requires a full phone reset, this involves losing EVERYTHING on your phone and starting again from scratch." THIS is the problem. Such an integral part of the phone's functionality that is prone to being changed often in peoples' lives should not require the entire phone to be reset just to change! I honestly can't get my head around how this was thought to be a good idea and subsequently released. I don't want to change back to and I shouldn't have to. I should be able to, VERY SIMPLY, change the address that the phone uses. My mind is truly boggled!
  • Paolo
    the fix worked for me -- happily downloading again from my Android. And, I would have never made the connection between the problem and the solution. Thank you!! (although, reliance on google is becoming increasingly unsafe)
  • Alex G.
    It's not only app downloading that breaks. I couldn;tunderstand why all of a sudden every new contact I added to my contacts on the handset disappeared with a half-life measured in seconds. I can see now it was because the change of Google account name broke the synchronization, and now I have switched back to googlemail I can add contacts on my handset again. I had been very impressed at the levelof integration between Android and Google online, and counted myself blessed that as I heavy user of Google online services over the last coupleof years I was really reaping rewards by having an Android handset, but now I am beginning to wonder. It seems if I want to change my Google name, even to the gmail one I've been using interchangably for years, I have to wipe the phone. ridiculous. It should at least be possible to add the 'new' account, tell the handset to start using that as the master account, and then delete the other. And why on earth as soon as the problem arose, couldn;t they have adapted the Market system to regard gmail and googlemail addresses as synonymous, as their other apps (mail, calendar etc) do. I guess the Google software engineers aren;t quite as smart and on the ball as we thought! Alex
  • Chris K.
    I foolishly changed to gmail and suffered the resulting problems, but cannot switch back to googlemail because the "switch to gmail" link doesn't appear in my account settings. To quote Google's own FAQ: "You can change your address back to by going to the "Accounts" tab under Gmail Settings and clicking the "Switch [email protected]?" link under "Send mail as:" (this link will only show up if you're eligible to change your address)." What on earth do they mean by "eligible"? Have they decided that certain customers are banned from switching back to googlemail? Does anyone else know a way to switch back to googlemail?
  • sageanderson
    i have a google account but i have no network connection on my mobile so it wont let me sign in on my mobile how do i get a network connection?
  • Mary
    Hi there, I#m not from Uk..but I've heard the complete opposite: I've heard you have to change to gmail to resolve download issues! I've been stuck at "starting download" in the market. So I've read some posts and changed to gmail, but nothing happened. So I don't think the reason for the download issues can't be switching you account tp gmail: just read the tons of posts in market help: its terrible -.-
  • Paul_C
    I can confirm a fix for this problem. YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO RESET YOUR PHONE. 1) Go to Settings > Applications > manage applications > Google Apps and clear both the DATA and CACHE. 2) Reboot phone. 3) Sign in to your G-Mail account on your computer and change to a account. 4) Open the Market and you will be asked to enter a new account. Put your details in but with the new account. 5) Cancel any downloads you have queued as these will not automatically start. However, once you press cancel you will be presented with an install option. Click this and your downloads will then begin.
  • Matthew
    I've only just got an andriod phone (Samsung Galaxy 19000). I registered with a googlemail address but I cant download any android apps (all other downloads are fine). I changed to a gmail after reading this but my phone wouldnt change to [email protected] Ive reverted back but still no changes. Could you please advise me on this?
  • rob
    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!
  • Don
    Thanks Munkeycop! Your the main man or woman!
  • uwais
    i signed up after google mail changed into gmail but it still wont work??? help!!
  • Munkon
    Hi all, I can't find this ’switch to gmail?' link.. Does anyone can direct me to a pic?? Thanks, Munkon.
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  • prodigy9
    This issue has been bugging me for months. It wasn't a real big deal, just a nuisance that meant my Colornote app wouldn't sync between my devices and constantly threw up a Connection Expired message. Not major but enough to annoy. I've looked all over the web even going deep into search results 10 pages deep or more which is unheard of for me. Anyway I'm so glad I found your elegant solution which seems to have done the trick. Thanks you so much.
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  • nikkifinn
    I have a similar problem in that I had/have a address & have been using it fine on googlemail app on windows phone, then suddenly yesterday the app has changed my address to asking for my password. Problem as my password won't work for that until now nonexistent address & also there isn't an option to change it back. Very frustrating! No answer for this problem on help pages.
  • bloody
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  • Craig G.
    Annoying thing is that Google own/run Android, kind of ironic, grrr!!!
  • gmail g.
    thanks now i can gmail login into my account.

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