Your inactive Google account can be deleted

If a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, Google may delete the account and its contents including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar) and Google Photos.

Aug 14, 2023 - 03:17
Aug 16, 2023 - 02:47
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Your inactive Google account can be deleted

A Google Account gives you Google-wide access to most Google products, such as Google Ads, Gmail, and YouTube, using the same username and password. A Google Account that is not active for more than two years shall be considered inactive. If you are inactive in Google for more than two years, Google reserves the right to delete your unused Google Account and its activities and data.

On Friday, August 4th, Google rolled out a new inactive policy and reminded users that it would begin to delete accounts no longer active by December 1st. Emphasizing the deadline, Google said: "An inactive account and any content in it will be eligible for deletion from December 1, 2023." Once deleted, a Gmail address cannot be used again for a new account, it added.

Accounts that are not used for a long time are more prone to being hacked. This is because these accounts often have weak or recycled passwords that may have been exposed, do not have an extra layer of security like 2-step-verification, and are not checked regularly by the user. Inactive accounts are much less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification enabled. Therefore, these accounts are easy targets for hackers, who can use them for various harmful purposes such as stealing identities or sending unwanted or harmful messages, like spam.

To reduce this risk, Google has updated its inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, Google may delete the account and its contents including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar) and Google Photos. This change only affects personal Google Accounts and not accounts for groups like businesses or schools. This change makes policy consistent with common practices for keeping and deleting accounts and also reduces the amount of time Google keeps your personal information when you don’t use it.

You can keep your account active by these simple steps:

  • Reading or sending an e-mail
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Sharing a photo
  • Downloading an app
  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

Google Alert

The platform, however, clarified that users will receive multiple notifications before any account is permanently deleted. "If your account is considered inactive, we will send several reminder e-mails to both you and your recovery emails (if any have been provided) before we take any action or delete any account content," it said. "These reminder e-mails will go out at least 8 months before any action is taken on your account."

If you take timely action, you might be able to restore a deleted Google account. Google does not mention how long you have to try to get it back, only that you have a limited length of time. However, if it has been some time after you deleted your account, it's possible that you won't be able to get your data back. You can go through this link to get more information

What happens to my data?

All of the information and content stored in a Google account, including emails, files, calendars, and images are lost when the account is deleted. Additionally, you won't be able to access any Google services that require that account to log in, including Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Play. You have the option to have activity deleted automatically after a predetermined amount of time has passed on your Google account. Google may erase your account and all of its associated data if it is dormant for two years.

The rules of this policy include several exceptions. Examples include a Google Account with YouTube channels, videos, or comments; a Gift Card account with a balance of money; or a published application account, such as one that hosts an app on the Google Play store. Additionally, Google provides tools to help you manage your Google Account and options for backing up your data. These tools include the ability to download your data using Google Takeout and the Inactive Account Manager, which lets you plan for what will happen to your data if you are inactive for a set period of time.

To set up the Inactive Account Manager, you need to follow these steps:

1.      Go to your Inactive Account Manager page and click Start.

2.      Select a timeout period for your account, after which Google will take action if there is no activity. You have the option of 3 to 18 months.

3.      Add a phone number and an email address where Google can contact you before taking action. You can also add a recovery email for your account.

4.      Select up to 10 trusted individuals who will have access to some of your account data or who will be informed if your account is inactive. Additionally, you can choose what information they may view and create a unique greeting for each contact.

5.      After your trusted contacts have had access for a predetermined amount of time, you have the option of choosing to delete your account and all of its data. Additionally, you have the option to keep your account.

6.      Review your plan and confirm it by clicking Enable.

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