Add a Phone Number to Your Email

Picture of an old phone, courtesy of Pixabay

Img Courtesy of Pixabay

Disclaimer: This is a Brobdingnagian Blog Post, but necessarily so. In order to make it easier to navigate, here’s a way to jump to a section that concerns you. 

To read about the reason behind the post, see the Introduction.

Otherwise, go to the email provider of your choice by clicking on their name below


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Most of my communicating is done via email, for obvious reasons. So I was flabergasted the first time a patron came to me for password reset help. I can understand that you can access your email without putting in your password if you’re using app on your mobile device or a local email client like Thunderbird or Outlook. Then there’s the great browser plug-in Last Pass that stores all your passwords securely.

This has become a godsend for me. I have literally (and I mean the “literally” that means “literally” not that fake literally that means “figuratively” politicians use) dozens of passwords and Last Pass has allowed me to access all my account without fumbling for the right password. But I digress…

Getting back to my point: when a patron asks me for help accessing her (or his) email and that email is an AOL account I know they use their account but rarely. So if they forget their password, it’s my job to help them reset it. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.

More and more email providers are putting an emphasis on security, and rightly so. Most (all?) of them now require a phone number and/or alternative email address to reset a password. This, however, means that sometimes a patron is forced to cut her losses and move to another email address. A person with an AOL account is unlikely to have a cell phone and if they do, often it’s a dumb phone that will charge the poor soul for texts. So the Text a verification code option is no option at all. And since these folk use email only begrudgingly, they’ll not have an alternative email address. So the Email a verification code option is just as useful.

So, I’ve taken to telling folks to make sure their phone number/alt email address is assigned to their email account. And here’s here to go for a few of the most popular email providers:


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1.) Click Options
2.) Click Account Info

AOL Options Menu

3 a.) Click Add a mobile number OR
3 b.) Click Add an alternative email

AOL Account Info Page

4.) Type your cell or email address
5.) Click Save

Text Field to add Phone or Email to your AOL Account

6 a.) Go to your phone , open the text message you just got, and follow the instructions

From: AOL

Please replay C to confirm your mobile number. Reply HELP for HELP or STOP to cancel.
MSG&Data Rates May Apply.

6 b.) Go to your alternative email, find the AOL message, and click Verify

Confirm AOL Message


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1.) Click your picture in the top right
2.) Click My Account

Google My Account Menu

3.) Click Your personal info

Google My Personal Info Menu Option

4.) Click the arrow to the right of Phone

Google Phone Option

5.) Click Add a Recovery Phone

Google Recovery Phone

At this point, you may be asked to sign in again. If you are, then you’ll need to do so and then click Add a Recovery Phone again.

6.) Type your cell number
7.) Click Verfiy

Google Phone Recovery Verification

8.) Click Get Code

Google Get Code

9.) Go to your Phone and get the code

10.) Type it in

11.) Click Verify

Google Code Verfiy

12.) Click Continue

Last Step of adding Gmail Phone Recovery


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(Logons for and also can be done this way)

1.) Click your picture in the top right corner

2.) Click Account Settings

Hotmail Account Settings Menu

3.) Click Security & Privacy

Hotmail security menu

4.) Click More security settings

Hotmail More Security Settings

5.) Click the I don’t have any of these circle
6.) Click Next

Hotmail Replace Info

7.) Type a phone number
8.) Click Next

Hotmail Add Phone Number Screen

9.) Go to your phone and get the code from the text
10.) Type in the code
11.) Click Next

Hotmail Enter the Code Screen

Now come the really annoying part…waiting. Microsoft seems to be the only one that requires a 30 day waiting period before any security details can be changed for good. So you’ll want to click Done and hopefully, not forget about it.

Hotmail Done Replacing Phone Number Screen

Perhaps MORE annoyingly, you’ll have to click Next when you log back in

Hotmail Security Change Reminder


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1.) Click your name
2.) Click Account Info


3.) Click Account Security
4.) Click Add recover phone number


5.) Type your number
6.) Click Send SMS

Yahoo Type Number

7.) Go to your phone and get the code
8.) Type the code
9.) Click Verify

Yahoo Enter the Code Screen


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