Google Locks Me Out of Gmail. Seriously?

UPDATE: Two hours after locking me out I’m reinstated. What happened? Who the buzz knows but of course, that’s the point.

While at lunch today I checked my email on my iPhone but it wasn’t working. Tried the Gmail client on my iPad and it wasn’t working. I thought, “Gmail is probably temporarily down.

It wasn’t. For some unknown reason Google locked me out of Gmail apparently for “Unusual Usage – Account Temporarily Locked Down.

The ONLY thing that could be possible is “3. Being logged into or synchronizing Gmail on many computers, clients, or mobile devices.” But isn’t that the point of a cloud-based solution Google? Especially in a day when an accelerating number of people like me have a desktop, laptop, iPad and iPhone? Is it because I logged in at the office on another computer as well?

I use Google’s 2-step verification too. The main problem for me is that Gmail is my communications hub. I have 8 email accounts all managed within that hub and purchased the 25GB upgrade to my account as well. As such, I’m locked out of three email accounts I use daily for business. With dozens of emails per day I need to manage, the likelihood of me missing something important is incredibly high.

I’m not the only one. This guy had the same issue but so have hundreds of others and there is NOTHING WE CAN DO!

Gotta tell ya, if THIS is how Google treats a long time user like me — someone who uses multiple of their services (even ones like the lame G+) — then organizations considering Google Apps should seriously re-consider. My suspicion? This is a veiled attempt at scaring the beejeesus out of people in order to get them to buy in to a Google Apps account. Having one (and paying for it) is the ONLY way to have an actual human throat-to-choke when bullshit like this happens.

Posted in ,  


  1. Lief Larson on May 22, 2012 at 4:29 am

    That’s why I never started using email. It’s just too new of a technology. I’m betting mIRC is the way of the future.

  2. Steve Borsch on May 22, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Funny. I’ve been thinking about going back to Morse code!

  3. Colin Forward on October 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Ever find a solution to this? I’m dealing with the same issue

  4. NewJersey on October 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I actually do use Google Apps and had this happen to a user @ work. I’m writing this as it is happening right now.

    She is a very high volume email user. Email is essential to her job. (I’ll leave it at that.)

    Called support. The kind gentleman confirmed my account number, how to spell my name & email address, and had me send a screen shot of the error. Then I was told in 4 hours to call back if no one has responded. On hour #2.

    First time this has happened for our 72 person office. She is using Outlook 2003 on XP, which did have an error that spammed her own account with an email containing 10mb of JPGs. So, the real fault here is Outlook 2003. But getting the account unlocked seems not thought out. They are really relying on a timer to release the account.

    So, basically, they “say” they are escalating it to level 2, but in reality, that sounds like a “quick answer” to get to the next call.

  5. Steve Borsch on October 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Just over the last couple of weeks I’ve read posts by people who have had the same issues. The concern is that *if* something happens then the recourse is usually doing nothing or, in the case of Google Apps, just what you describe.

    The problem always is this: How do you scale customer support when you have tens of millions of customers?

  6. Mary Montclair (@AnimalMary) on April 24, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Why would Google lock me out for sending my friend a picture of my puppy! And why would they lock me out of my computer and not my iPhone or iPad! So stupid!

    I am so upset I want to scream! I have been locked out for almost one day now. If Google is going to lock you out, why don’t they have the courtesy to provide a customer service number that you can call? Oh, that’s right, Google does not allow “human to human” communication!

  7. Jordan on September 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I’ve been locked out, let back in 18 hours later only to be locked out again.

  8. Dantheman on September 21, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Just call up the NSA and ask them for the audit trail – google support dont respond but those guys know everything about us ;).


  9. uzi cohen on January 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    How do you scale customer support when you have tens of millions of customers?

    Simple! You spend just a little bit of your tremendous profit and qualify an army of support

    And yes, they should serve also non-paying customers. Google is not just a regular company that can divide between paying and non-paying users.

    Another option is asking for a paid service token. I’m sure that each of us miserable locked-out users, would pay 5$ to be back in the matrix.

  10. Steve Borsch on January 13, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Agreed that they need *some* avenue for locked out users to be able to get help.

    That said, when I was with Apple in the 90s, their Austin, TX call center had 800+ people in it with plans to double the size. Apple was giving away free tech support at the time. Steve Jobs nixed the idea of doubling (since it could double again and again and still not make a dent in giving out help) so the Genius Bar was introduced in the stores. So that doesn’t scale well.

    The kicker? Google doesn’t have stores and trying to connect with them is like tossing light in to a black hole.

  11. Josh on July 1, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Having the same issue here with Google Apps (on chat with google right now). I’m not sure how any business can function when your email can get locked out and no one knows why. Terrible.

  12. Ann arky on August 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I can only email my files from my iPad to my pc, my Bluetooth connection won’t work. Now I’m locked out of my gmail, again, for sending myself files. Thanks a lot. :/

  13. charles wicker on September 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Still occurring to me and has been for three weeks. Totally frustrated with know one to go to.

  14. Bill on May 13, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Gmail has locked me out of EVERY email account I have! And now Yahoo is starting to do the same thing!

    Why would an email provider block a legitimate user because of somebody else’s actions? That’s not security, that’s stupidity! Anybody who wants to disable another person’s gmail account could just do some of the things that cause Gmail to block access and now you can never access your email again.

  15. Steve Borsch on May 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Just out of curiosity Bill, what happened to cause the lockout?

    As Gmail says here:

    If we detect abnormal usage that may indicate that your account has been compromised, we may temporarily disable access. It will take between one minute and 24 hours for access to be reinstated, depending on the behavior detected by our system.

    Unusual account activity includes, but is not limited to:

    • Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via POP or IMAP in a short period of time. If you’re getting the error message, ‘Lockdown in Sector 4,’ you should be able to access Gmail again after waiting 24 hours.

    • Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce back).

    • Using file-sharing or file-storage software, or third party software that automatically logs in to your account.

    • Leaving multiple instances of Gmail open.

    • Browser-related issues: If you find your browser continually reloading while attempting to access your Inbox, it’s probably a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser’s cache and cookies.

    Usually it’s one of those that causes the lockout. Not sure about Yahoo mail though since I don’t use it.

  16. Harvey A. Ouwinga on April 28, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    What happened to my Email? I want to get rid of some of the apps so how do I do that and get my Email back. I NEED it!

  17. Steve Borsch on April 29, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Can’t help you here. You will have to go to a Google group I think. Also, what do you mean by “get rid of the apps?”

  18. Allen Burns on October 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Write your Congressman and ask them if Google is more important and powerful than the US Government. If so, buy a bunch of postcards and wait for Google to self destruct.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Posts by Category

Archives (2004 – Present)

Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.