Google’s getting closer to deleting inactive accounts

Photo (c) Getty Images

The company has seven things someone can do to keep their account alive

If you’re sitting on an inactive Gmail or other Google-driven account like Docs or Google Drive, you need to know that the company is getting closer to deleting those accounts. Any account that has been inactive for two years will be eligible for deletion beginning December 1, 2023.

Given that Google has allowed people to have all the accounts they want, some may have gone overboard and have more than they really need, so the move is a reasonable purge. It also cuts down on the number of accounts Google has to police and protect.

“Every day Google works hard to keep you and your private information safe and secure by preventing unauthorized access to your Google Account with our built-in security protections,” the company wrote to account holders with potentially dormant accounts in an email. 

“And keeping you safe means having strong privacy practices across our products that minimize how long we store your personal files and any data associated with them. We want to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorized access to your account even if you’re no longer using our services.”

What this means for a Google account holder

If you have used a Google account in the last two years, you can breathe easy. If the company has ID’ed an account that it thinks has been mothballed and left unused, it will send several emails to both the Gmail address of the account in question and the user’s main account (the “recovery” email address) just to make sure the user knows what’s on the front burner.

 If that account is deleted, the Gmail address for the deleted account is gone forever and cannot be used again when creating a new Google Account.

How to keep your account active?

“The simplest way to keep a Google Account active is to sign in to the account at least once every two years,” the company reminded inactive account users. 

“If you have signed in to your Google Account recently in the past two years, your account is considered active and will not be deleted.”

There are seven other ways that users can keep any Google account alive:

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Sharing a photo (Google Photos)
  • Downloading a Google app
  • Using Google Search
  • Using sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

There are some exceptions to this policy, such as a Google Account that has YouTube channels, videos or comments or an account that has a gift card with a monetary balance. Other exceptions to this policy are available here.

Google’s willing to help

Google’s not going to leave anyone out in the cold and says it’s offering tools to help manage your Google Account and provide options to back up your data, including the ability to download your data using Google Takeout. It would also be wise to confirm that your recovery email is up to date.

Take a Bathroom Remodeling Quiz

Get matched with an Authorized Partner