Google is coming to delete your unused Gmail account

Google is coming to delete your unused Gmail account

Back in 2020, Google announced an update to the company’s dormant account policy. Included in the update was the end of unlimited storage for high quality photos. As it pertains to dormant accounts, Google stated that accounts that aren’t active for two years or longer may have their files deleted to optimize space on the massive servers that house those files. Here are the specifics from the Nov. 2020 announcement.

  • If you’re inactive in one or more of these services for two years (24 months), Google may delete the content in the product(s) in which you’re inactive. 
  • Similarly, if you’re over your storage limit for two years, Google may delete your content across Gmail, Drive and Photos.

Now, it seems, Google is taking this a bit further. Starting around the end of 2023, Google will begin deleting accounts that have been dormant for more than 24 months. Accounts that were created but never used will go first and Google was clear to say that multiple attempts will be made to contact owners before deleting the accounts. According to 9to5Google, deleted accounts will not be made available for re-registration, rendering them gone forever.

  • While the policy takes effect today, it will not immediately impact users with an inactive account — the earliest we will begin deleting accounts is December 2023.
  • We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again.
  • Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided).

If you’ve created a Google/Gmail account and not used it for two years, this is likely not a concern for you. Many of us have created generic Gmail accounts in an attempt to keep spam out of our primary inbox. That said, there is one group of users that has expressed concern with the new policy. As one Twitter user pointed out, this could mean the demise of YouTube content that is attached to dormant Google accounts. This would be very unfortunate because there is a lot of content on YouTube that is very useful and/or entertaining that shouldn’t die just because the account is no longer active.

Thankfully, the official @YouTubeLiaison Twitter account quickly put these fears to rest. This wasn’t reflected in the official blog post but @ReneRitchie is the official go between for YouTube and the many creators that use the platform. Google news for aging accounts to say the least.

To keep your account active, you simply need to do just about anything to interact with it. Signing in and sending an email, opening a Drive file with that account or watching YouTube are just a few examples. To learn more about backing up your account and how to keep your files from being deleted, read the full announcement from Google here.