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How to find the creation date of your Gmail or Google account

There isn't a foolproof method, but you have options.

Published onApril 16, 2024

If you’ve ever lost access to your Google account, one of the recovery questions might have been “When did you set up your Google account?” or words to that effect. Suddenly, your mind goes blank, and panic sets in. When did you set yours up? Can you come up with the exact date? Or even just the year you made it? Does Google tell you how old your account is somewhere?


The short answer to the last question is no. Google doesn't list the account creation date somewhere for your convenience. The Google help pages themselves admit the only two "methods" are to look for the welcome email in Gmail or check your POP and IMAP settings. Both of these are not foolproof if you have neither. Plus, if you're locked out of your account already, checking for these needs to be proactive.


Look for the “Welcome to Gmail” email

gmail welcome email

When you set up your Google account, Gmail is automatically made at the same time. The first email you will receive will be a welcome email from Google. Check the date you received that email, and that will be the date Google set up the account.

But honestly, how many people still have that email? Google assumes you’ll never delete a single email ever. But if you’re a neat freak like me, you would never keep emails stretching back years. The first email in my account, which I’ve had since 2004, dates back only six months.

Check your POP and IMAP settings

If you can’t lay your hands on the Gmail welcome email, the next step is to check the Gmail POP and IMAP settings.

Google thinks that perhaps when you set up your account, you immediately set up POP or IMAP to redirect mail from that account to another account. So assuming you haven’t changed those settings since (the weak spot right there), you can get the date from your Gmail POP and IMAP settings.

gmail pop imap settings

But as you can see, I switched on my POP settings a few minutes ago. So if you haven’t had yours on until now, you’re not going to get an accurate creation date.

Can you think of another way to get a Google account creation date?


There is no official way to find out when you created your Gmail account. The two most trusted methods are looking for that Welcome to Gmail email, or looking into your POP and IMAP settings.

Sadly, a lot of people delete that first email. And the POP and IMAP settings solution only works if you’ve set up POP and IMAP from the first day and never changed them.

Emails you delete go to the Trash folder for 30 days before Google permanently deletes them. This means that if you delete that Welcome to Gmail email, it will only be around for 30 days before it’s gone for good.

Google will leave you signed into a device as long as the cookies are enabled. You’ll be signed out once the related cookies expire.

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