Google to delete inactive accounts starting December 2023

The deletion of old Google accounts could free up usernames for Gmail and other Google services.

About the announcement:

Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday said it would delete accounts that had remained unused for two years starting December, in a bid to prevent security threats including hacks.

The company said that if a Google account had not been used or signed into for at least two years, it might delete the account and content across Google Workspace, which includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar, as well as YouTube and Google Photos.

The policy change only applies to personal Google Accounts and not to those for organizations like schools or businesses.

In 2020, Google had said it would remove content stored in an inactive account, but not delete the account itself.

Starting Tuesday, Google will send multiple notifications to the account email address and recovery mail of the inactive accounts before deletion.

Last week, Elon Musk said Twitter would remove accounts that have been inactive for several years and archive them, saying that the action is “important to free up abandoned handles.”

How Google users may keep their account active

Google customers have several options when it comes to keeping their account status active. Using a Google product while signed-in to the account is usually enough to keep it active. Google lists the following activities specifically:

1.Reading or sending an email

2.Using Google Drive

3.Watching a YouTube video

4.Downloading an app on the Google Play Store

5.Using Google Search

6.Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

Customers who have an existing subscription set up, for instance for YouTube Premium or Google One, won't have their accounts considered inactive, even if the accounts are not used.

Google highlights that customers do need to sign-in to Google Photos every 2 years at least for their accounts not to be considered inactive. Content, such as photos, might otherwise be deleted, according to Google. Customers will be notified by Google multiple times if their photo storage is at the risk of being set to inactive by the company.

Google suggests that customers make use of the takeout feature to download date of importance to their devices for backup purposes.

Google users who want to keep their accounts should sign-in to their account frequently recommends Google.