Google has a lot of web-based services, and the good news is they’re all completely free! To use them, all you need is a Google Account – sign in, and you can use Google’s email services, cloud storage, its calendar app and more.

Here we break down how you get a Google Account, and what you need to know about using it.

What does the Google Account do?

You need a Google Account in order to access Google’s services like Gmail (its email service), Google Drive (its cloud storage service) and Google Calendar. Think of it as the key that unlocks all of these web-based services. They’re all free too, as is the Google Account. Once you’ve signed up, you use the same login and password to access all Google’s services.

Google Pixel

Do I need a Google Account to use an Android phone?

You don’t need one, but it is very handy. The Android operating system is made by Google, and so its services tie into it very well. Once you log in to an Android phone using your Google Account, it automatically downloads all your emails via Gmail, puts your appointments in your Google Calendar and loads your saved places in Google Maps. It also downloads your apps from Google Play. It effectively makes any phone work just like your current one – very handy when you buy a new handset.

Do I need a Google Account for every Google service?

Not all. You can use some – like Google Maps and Google Search – without a Google Account. Not only does this mean everyone can use them, it also means you can use them on a different computer without having to sign in first. However, using them with your Google Account will improve their services. For example, Google Maps will show you places that you’ve saved and tell you when you last visited a location, while Google Search will remember your past searches and automatically complete the text bar if you start typing one of your previously used search terms.

Google Maps mobile

Who can create a Google Account?

Anyone with access to the internet. To create a Google Account, just head here and enter your details. Create a username and password, and that’s it. You’re now ready to start enjoying all Google has to offer.

How do I access my Google Account?

You can do so through a web browser by loading up one of its services like Gmail, or by signing in to an Android phone.

[Read more: Google Maps will let you share your location]

Where are my Google Account settings?

When you’re signed into your Gmail account, click the grid of squares in the top-right corner. This will let you tweak your sign-in and security preferences, personal info and account preferences. On an Android phone, you’ll find it in the Settings app – under Personal, tap Google. This opens a separate app known as Google Settings. Again, this gives you full control over your settings.

Where do I find my Google Account ID/Account number?

Google doesn’t assign its users an account ID or number. Instead, you use your username, which you create when you open an account. You can also sign in using your phone number instead. Whether you use your username or phone number, you’ll need to enter your password as well, so don’t forget it.

Where is the Google Account homepage?

It’s at myaccount.google.com. From here you can sign in to your account, adjust your settings, check on your security preferences and even find your phone.

Which Google Account am I using?

You can use more than one account on the same device. This means that more than one person can access their Gmail and other personalised Google services, but it also means you can have more than one account, if you like (though it’s not strictly necessary, as you can use more than one Gmail address with just the one Google Account). To see which Google Account you’re logged in to at any time, click your profile picture in the top-right of the screen on your Gmail account – this will let you select an account.

How to delete a Google Account?

If you no longer want to use a Google Account, you can delete it. Sign in, go to Account Preferences and select ‘Delete your account or services’. Follow the instructions, and hit Delete. And that’s it, you no longer have a Google Account. Make sure you definitely want to though, as once you do there’s no going back!

Read more: This little girl wrote a letter to Google asking for a job, and received this brilliant response from the CEO