I use a lot of Google products like Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc., and so do everyone in my family.
One problem with this situation is that if you do not log out of your Gmail or Google account, then the next person can access your entire Google life!
So you would think that Google will develop an option to automatically log you out after a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t exist! There is a main reason for that too: Google never wants you to log out of your account because it can then track everything you do.
If you sign in, they will collect information about how you use all Google services and use that information for everything from ads to adjusting the order of results in Google Search.
I personally don’t really care too much about that aspect. My main reason for automatically logging out of my Google account is to make sure no one else can access my account after I leave that computer.
I have seen that happen so many times in hotels and apartments where I access Gmail in the browser and it uploads to someone else’s Gmail account! Luckily for them, I’m not a hacker or bad guy otherwise I could theoretically access a lot of sensitive information about that person.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to this problem. In this article, I will try to learn the different things I do to make sure my account can be accessed by anyone else.
Method 1 – Exit all sessions
Let’s say you’ve logged into your Gmail account at a friend’s house and forgot to log out before leaving. So what now? Technically, that person can only access Gmail and view all your emails.
Fortunately, there is a feature in Gmail that helps with this type of problem. You can log in to Gmail on another computer and then log out all other sessions.
If you go to Gmail and scroll all the way down, you’ll see Last account activity: x minutes ago and a link called Detail.
If you click on it, it opens a new window that displays when your account is accessed by type (browser, IMAP, SMTP, etc.) and by IP address / location.
If you click Log out all other sessions button, only you can access your Gmail account again. Anyone else will have to login again with the password.
This is still a very manual process, but it is very useful if you log in somewhere and can log out physically from that device.
Method 2 – Two-step verification
The only way to automatically sign in to your Google account is if you use two-factor authentication (called two-step verification by Google).
With two-factor authentication, you must enter your password and you must enter the six-digit code generated every 30 seconds by an application on your phone.
When using two-step verification, if you don’t check it out Remember to verify this computer for 30 days Optionally, every time you try to sign in to your Google account, you’ll have to enter the six-digit code.
Of course, this requires a lot more setup and you’re a little more hassle having to enter this code whenever you want to access your account. However, if you’re trying to log out automatically, you’re probably the one who doesn’t remember reclaiming their credentials.
Also, if you have saved the password in the browser, it will work very well because the password will automatically be filled by your browser, but no one can have access until you enter the code. So instead of having to enter your password multiple times, you only need to enter the code.
Method 3 – Sign in to Chrome
The last thing you can do is make sure you are not signed in to Chrome if you use the Chrome browser. If you sign in with your Google account, your applications, bookmarks, passwords, autocomplete data and much more will be synchronized and saved.
However, even if you are not signed in to Chrome, you will still win automatically logged out of your Google account. The next best option is to use one of the private browsing modes that all browsers currently have.
I wrote about how you can turn on Incognito mode in Chrome and Opera, browse privately in Firefox and browse privately in IE 11 or Edge.
You can now log into any account you like, but when you close your private browsing window, everything will be deleted. If someone reopens the normal Chrome window or even the new Incognito window, they will have to log in again.
As I said before, there really aren’t any great options to automatically log out of your Google account. If you have found a better solution than the ones mentioned above, please post a comment and let us know. Enjoy!
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