Tip: “Can’t establish a reliable data connection to the server” when trying to sync your Google account with your Android phone? Sign in via the Youtube app to fix the problem

I must say I love my Android phone. (This is the point where you BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia, and Microsoft fans cringe with hatred). However, as good as the Android platform is, it isn’t without its fair share of bugs. Typically all minor, temporary bugs on an Android phone can be fixed simply by doing a “factory reset” (look under Settings – it will be there somewhere), restoring the phone to “factory settings” (i.e. all your apps are deleted and settings are reset). (Major, permanent bugs require a patch from your phone manufacturer and/or Google.) However, frankly speaking, when you have 50+ apps on your phone – reinstalling them and customizing your phone the way you like it can be more annoying than… well let’s just say it is very annoying. So, it is always nice when a bug can be circumvented with a work around that doesn’t involve a factory reset. (Yes, this means I will be sharing a tip with you in this article allowing you to circumvent an Android bug – how did you know?)

Ever try to sync a Google account to your Android phone and you keep running into the “Can’t establish a reliable data connection to the server” error? The phone keeps insisting you don’t have a data connection and you keep insisting back that you do have a data connection (you even try it on WiFi). Well the problem could be that the Google servers are down (it has happened in the past) so you may want to consider trying again in a few hours. Or, the problem could be an app you downloaded is causing a conflict; in which cause I highly encourage you to try to track down exactly when this problem started happening and try uninstalling recent apps you installed to see if the problem goes away. Or, the problem could just be one of the previously mentioned bugs and you can’t do a darn thing about it (short of a factory reset). If you fall into the latter group, there is a way of syncing your Google account to your Android phone (although only the contacts and e-mail will sync – the calendar will not)… through the Youtube app:

NOTE: The following instructions may differ slightly depending on which Android phone you have. However, the method to add a Google account via the Youtube app works for all Android phones.

  • First of all you need to add Youtube to your Google account. So if you have not done this already, visit Youtube (from your computer) and login with the login credentials of the Google account you want to sync to your phone. After you login, you will be asked if you want to add a Youtube account to your Google account, or create a whole separate Youtube account. Add the Youtube account to your Google account:

  • After you have a Youtube account attached to your Google account, run the Youtube app on your Android phone, open up the menu, and click on My Account

…and login with your Google account (use the e-mail address and password associated with the Google account you want to sync to your phone):

  • After you have signed in via the Youtube app, exit the Youtube app and go to the main Android Settings menu (you should be able to access this menu by pressing on your phone’s menu key and tapping Settings). Once at the Settings menu go to Accounts and sync. Once at Accounts and sync you should see an new entry for the Google account you just signed in with through the Youtube app; tap that account to bring it up. After the account has been brought up, check the checkbox for Sync Contacts and/or Sync Gmail, depending on what you want to sync:

  • Wait for the syncing to occur.
  • Profit.

That was easy. Enjoy!

Thanks wagenbach!

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  1. zynjaafar

    i had erase my google account on my android phone suddently. and nowcant publish a data connection with my google account. i i cant synchronize my accounts because i cant log in..

  2. Kim Anderson

    I have been trying this..however after a factory reset I cannot download anything.. I just get download unsuccessful. I tried to log into you tube but did not ask about Google or syncing…..I have no apps. And can’t even use camera that says “external storage unavailable”, please any info greatly appreciated.

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  5. Michelle Starkey

    Oh my God, these step by step instructions really worked!!!! I haven’t been able to access the android market on my LG Apex since I bought it 3 weeks ago. I have asked every techy and the cell phone provider, but with no success. But I followed the instructions to log in to YOUTUBE with my gmail account & then launched the youtube app on my phone and it really, really worked!!!!! Sorry I gotta go I have lots of apps to install on my phone now that I can use the android market. Thank you so much!!!

  6. palani

    I had the same issue and have tried all the above mentioned (Restore Factory settings and Youtube Connect) but still had the same issue and then I have changed my APN to Vodafone Connect then this issue has been resolved.

  7. uzoker8

    I had same problem, once upon a time my wifi logo gone white instead of android green, which means you are connected into Google servers and shit… It gave me “No connection” and “Can not establish…” shits.
    I have tried almost everything, hard reset, some youtube trick shit, sync shits and much more, nothing happened, and i was like “what the “hell” is this shit?!” But then I tried to do that shit on wifi of my friend. And it the hell worked. I have just turn off and then on my wifi router and now it all works and shit.
    Hope you have not tried it already, because if this will not help you, i seriously do not know what kind of shit is that. Have a nice day

  8. Michael


    My phone worked fine for 13 months, then I had to do a factory reset because google play wouldn’t load, after the reset I cannot sync my google account, nor my youtube account as the youtube thing gives the same error, my internet connection is fine as I can use it on the browser with very good speeds and no hassle. My time and date are fine, I checked about 30 times, trying both manually and automatically from the net. I need this fixed because I’m not due an upgrade for anothjer 8 months almost.

  9. GSandhu

    Unfortunately i have already done the factory reset on my HTC G1 (T-Mobile) ph. Now in order to use th ph i need to sync my phone with the google acc… But i get the same error msg again and again.. I hv reset the APN settings and hv tried evrythng.. pls HELP me to use my phone…

  10. naomi

    am so depressed i have done all that but my you tube is not coming up on the phone its just searching and searching could it be my network provider but i dont think so cos i can acces the internet properly withou any problem..please help my phone is just 2 days old …

  11. Vaji

    hello there
    thanks for your tip
    but i am living in iran and i cant access youtube,cause it has been filtered out here
    well first i was using my sansung galaxy s ii everything works fine
    but when i changed the Sim card and i wanted to login the gmail account i faced with this error
    i tried every thing
    factory reset
    via hard ware
    via software
    but nothing changed
    can u tell me beside this way that u explained,is there any way for me that i cant access youtube here to log on my gmail and g talk account??
    please help me here
    i need my gmail on my phone

  12. Needshelp

    There was a network error while trying to sign in to [email OR username, both give this error message]. Retry now or press the Back button to cancel.

    YouTube, Google, Android Market work fine if I visit in browser, but when I want to download an app it says no Android devices are associated with it…
    Samsung Galaxy Spica, running Android 2.1 (upgraded). I’m using WiFi.

  13. Paul Haynes

    Brilliant!! Thanks very much for this tip – saved me from a reset.

    I can’t understand why Google themselves don’t provide help in this situation – or that the Android system is so badldy written to let the problem happen in the first place!

  14. steve

    It looks like the time and date was out of sync and that caused the issue. So check that out before you do a factory reset. After i synced the time i was able to go into the market and youtube app.


  15. steve

    Thank you so much for this. I had read about the fix but really needed someone to spell it out for me. You have now stopped me searching through post after post trying to fix this.


  16. Ali

    Thanks, I had a similar problem, and even tried logging into YouTube app, but had no success. The problem was I hadn’t linked my google account with YouTube one. Once I read your descriptions, I went to YouTube on my PC and followed the instructions, then logged into YouTube on my Android, and it just worked :-) I really appreciate your help.

  17. gina

    I don’t get step #1 “After you login, you will be asked if you want to add a Youtube account to your Google account, or create a whole separate Youtube account. Add the Youtube account to your Google account:”

    YouTube asks that you log in with some preexisting YT account, which you don’t have at that point. Must click on the right instead, right?