If you have an old Gmail or Google email account lying dormant, it’s time to log in before it faces deletion. Starting this December, Google will commence the process of deleting personal email accounts that have remained inactive for two years. This includes associated content such as Google Workspace products like Google Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Photos.
Why is Google taking this step?
According to a blog post from May, the primary motivation is to protect users from potential scams. Abandoned accounts are more vulnerable to compromise due to factors such as outdated or reused passwords, lack of two-factor authentication, and reduced security checks by the user.
Google’s internal analysis reveals that inactive accounts are at least 10 times less likely to have two-step verification set up compared to active accounts, making them more susceptible to compromise for malicious purposes, from identity theft to spreading spam.
It’s important to note that this policy applies exclusively to personal email accounts and not to accounts associated with organizations such as schools or businesses.
When will Google start the deletion process?
The phased approach begins in December, starting with the removal of accounts that were created but never used. Google assures users that it will send multiple notifications leading up to the deletion, both to the account email address and the recovery email if provided.
How can you keep your Gmail account active?
Google recommends signing in to your account at least once every two years. Any recent activity, such as reading or sending emails, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, conducting a Google Search, or using Sign in with Google for third-party apps or services, will be considered as account activity.
Google also clarifies that subscriptions set up through a Google account, like Google One or a news publication or app, count as account activity. Additionally, accounts with YouTube videos are not currently slated for deletion.
For added security, Google advises providing a recovery email and offers free tools to manage your account or back up data. The Inactive Account Manager allows users to decide the fate of their account and data after 18 months of inactivity, offering options such as sending specific files to trusted accounts, setting up a Gmail auto responder, or ultimately deleting the account.
Once your Google account is deleted, access to it and associated products will be lost, and the email cannot be reused to create a new account.”