It happens to the best of us: you wake up one day and you try to access your Twitter account and boom:
You frantically try your password again, but alas, the damage is done, there’s no turning back.
You’re locked out of your own Twitter account.
When people are locked out of their account, Twitter will ask them to re-affirm their identity using a code, it’s part of their two-step verification process that helps them figure out whether the person trying to unlock your account really is you.
Fortunately, there is a way to fix this. The easiest way to unlock your account is to request for a verification code. Sounds simple enough; but what if you didn’t sign up with a phone number? How do you unlock your Twitter account without a phone number that they can SMS with a verification code?
Why Do Twitter Accounts Get Locked?
There are so many different ways that a person can get locked out of their Twitter account; in fact, sometimes even the smallest infraction to their Terms of Service can be grounds for being locked out of your account. You could get locked out of your account if you post spammy content (according to Twitter’s standards), have a weird follower-following ratio or have multiple Twitter accounts.
There are, of course, varying degrees of severity, with the three most common being:
- Locked Account: Twitter will actively log your account off all devices, and is usually the most common. This is usually done when Twitter notices suspicious behavior around your account, like repeated logins with an incorrect password, or higher-than-normal account activity.
- Restricted/Limited Account: A slightly less severe restriction, limited accounts can still be accessed, but you won’t be able to tweet, like, or reshare other tweets. This usually happens when Twitter suspects your account of sending out spam.
- Suspended Account: this pretty much means that you’ve been banned from Twitter. A suspension, however, can be appealed and is usually a punishment for accounts suspected of sharing fake news, spam, or harassment.
Again, there are so many ways for your account to be restricted, so it’s best to review Twitter’s terms of service, as well as their rules and regulations, to make sure that you violate nothing.
Four Ways to Unlock Your Twitter Account Without a Phone Number
Luckily, there are ways to unlock a locked Twitter account without needing an active phone number, and yes, they’re all legitimate ways (we don’t condone hacking, and neither should you) to get Twitter to unlock your account and give you access again. These methods include:
- Using a trusted VOIP like Google Voice (which provides you a virtual phone number)
- Reset Your Password Using Email (your first choice, really)
- Filling Out an Account Restoration Form (it takes a while, but it’s worth it)
- Contact Twitter Support Directly
Use a VOIP (but there’s a catch)
VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as IP telephony, is a type of service that allows people to make localized landline calls over the internet. While it might sound really technical, you’re probably using one already: Skype and Google Voice are two of the most popular VoIP services available online. Most VoIPs are free, but the premium ones offer a few more services, like a usable phone number, text messaging, etc.
But there’s a catch: most, if not all VoIPs aren’t recognized by Twitter, not even Skype. Due to hackers and spammers constantly evolving their tactics, Twitter has had to do the same and ban most VoIPs because of their lack of security. Google Voice, however, is still recognized by Twitter, with a Google Voice number usually being recognized during sign-up. That’s because Google allows SMS to be sent to the Voice number that they generate, not to mention that it’s Google, i.e. one of the most trusted companies out there.
If you’re locked out of your account, try registering for a (free) Google Voice number and use that for your Twitter verification code. It usually works, but some phone numbers that Google Voice generates aren’t recognized by Twitter (people complain about Twitter saying that it’s an unsupported phone number), so you might have to try multiple times. If it does work, however, Google Voice will receive the verification SMS that Twitter sends, and you’ll be able to gain access to your account again.
Reset Your Password Using Your Email
This should be your first option when trying to gain access to your locked Twitter account. Simply find the “reset password” button on the login page and click on that. If you don’t have a mobile number, input your recovery email (just make sure it was the same one you used during signup). Once completed, Twitter will send you an email with a temporary password that you can use to access your locked account. Once you’re in, you can change this password to something you like.
Fill Out an Account Restoration Form (Or Contact Twitter Support)
An Account Restoration Form is available to anyone trying to gain complete access to a locked Twitter account. You can request this through the Twitter Help section. In that form, you’ll be asked a few questions that would ascertain your identity as the original owner of the account, including your original login details.
This takes a bit of time, as the form itself is pretty lengthy, and the response time can take a while because it’s reviewed individually by human operators.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to contact Twitter directly. Their Twitter Support page has a set of questions that will guide you towards having your password reset, and thus regain access to your locked account. It’s the same process as filling up the account restoration form, but it might take a little longer.
How To Avoid Getting Locked Out of Your Twitter Account
Twitter is protective of its users; if it senses that you’re abusive, spammy or practicing unethical behavior online, it will lock you out. These rules are designed to protect accounts and ensure security for all users. If you violate their rules, you will get locked out.
Instead of stressing yourself out with a suspension, here are ways to avoid getting locked out of your Twitter account.
- Avoid creating multiple Twitter accounts. Unless you’re part of a large organization with different divisions, it’s best to stick with a single Twitter account. If Twitter realizes you have multiple accounts, they will suspend all your related accounts.
- Avoid posting the same content repeatedly. If you keep posting the same links, photos or content repeatedly, Twitter will think you’re spamming your followers. Spam is Twitter’s worst enemy. So, if they think you’re spamming others, you will be locked out. Rewording posts won’t help either. Instead, post a variety of content on your account.
- Be mindful of your follower and following ratio. Twitter monitors how aggressive accounts are when it comes to following others. With this in mind, avoid following or unfollowing hundreds of accounts in a day. For example, if you have 100 followers, you can’t follow 10,000 accounts.
- Don’t just share links randomly. Although Twitter is the best place to share links for content you find interesting, the platform is also designed for engaging with followers. If you keep posting links on all of your posts, you are more prone to suspension. Instead of just posting links, have conversations with other users.
- Avoid abusing hashtags. When you add a hashtag to your tweet, it signifies that it’s part of a particular tweet group. However, using unrelated hashtags is considered a misuse by Twitter and can lead to a suspension.
- Refrain from Sending Automated DMs. Sending out templated, cookie-cutter or automated direct messages might get you flagged as a spammer. If you want to send multiple DMs to your followers, use Twitter’s third-party automation services for more personalized messages.
- Avoid abusing trending topics. Jumping on Twitter’s trending topics is the smartest way to market your account or organization, especially if your tweets are related to what your profile is about. However, spammers abuse trending topics by tweeting unrelated ideas. Twitter isn’t a big fan of this. Avoid suspension by laying off the trending topics unless you want to talk about them.
- Be active on your Twitter account. If you don’t use your account for six months, Twitter will suspend your account.
Fortunately, you’re not alone: people get locked out of their Twitter accounts all the time, usually temporary, rarely permanent. A person can be locked out for various reasons, from suspected spamming and posting offensive content to something as simple as signing up for a Twitter account before you turned 13. Yeah, they’re that strict.