When you have a partner, you inevitably sign up for memberships and accounts that equally affect both of you: a dual streaming subscription, or health insurance that covers you both. Annoyingly, many of these memberships only let you sign up with one email address. Instead of setting up a third email account, or making a new forwarding rule for every signup, here’s a Gmail trick that you can set and forget.
The trick, from Lifehacker reader Trippple, is to use Gmail’s “+” feature. Gmail lets you add extra labels in your email address after a plus sign: [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] all go to the same address. (This also works with Gmail for custom domains and organisations.)
So Bert could make an address called [email protected], and tell Gmail to forward all emails sent there to Ernie (whether or not Ernie is on Gmail).
To set up a joint account, you’ll have to set up a forwarding address in Gmail, then create a filter. But once you set it up, you don’t have to do any more work. You just have to use that special address to sign up for joint accounts.
Set up the forwarding address
First you have to assign your partner’s address as a forwarding address. (This is to prevent spam.)
Go to Settings (click the gear icon in the top right) and open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
In the Forwarding section, click Add a forwarding address.
Enter your partner’s email address and click OK.
Gmail will send a verification email to your partner. Get the code from them, and paste it into your Gmail settings. Hit Verify.
Create your joint email address filter
Now you can tell Gmail to always forward certain emails to your partner.
Go to Gmail’s settings (through the gear icon in the top right).
Click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
At the bottom, click Create a new filter.
In the new drop-down window, in the To section, write your joint email name, e.g. [email protected]. Click Create filter.
In the new drop-down window, click Forward it to: and select your partner’s email address from the drop-down. Click Create filter.
Sign up for joint accounts with your special address
Now when Bert signs up for couples yoga, he can enter [email protected]. And so can Ernie. Either way, the email will go to Bert, then Gmail will automatically forward it to Ernie.
Note that Bert’s label doesn’t have to have anything to do with Ernie’s email address. It could be [email protected]. And Ernie doesn’t have to have Gmail for this to work. Which is good, because Ernie still uses AOL.