Back in May, Google said it would delete inactive accounts to strengthen security. Next month, if you have a personal Gmail account that’s been inactive, or not signed into, for at least two years, it will be erased along with any stored content within Workspace — Gmail, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Photos.
Google said school and business accounts will be exempt from the purge. In addition, if you have a subscription, like Google One, through an otherwise inactive account, your Gmail won’t be deleted. YouTube accounts won’t be deleted either.
“[I]f an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised,” Google said in a statement earlier this year.
The tech giant said “forgotten or unattended” accounts often rely on weak, re-used, or possibly compromised passwords and don’t have two-factor authentication set up. Abandoned accounts are ten times less likely than active accounts to use two-step verification tools, according to Google, and this leaves them vulnerable to identity theft and malicious spam.
Don’t worry — your Gmail account won’t simply vanish one day. Google said inactive accounts will be removed in phases, beginning with those created and never used again. You’ll also get multiple notifications — sent to both the inactive account and the recover email — before deletion.
It’s still possible to keep your Gmail account from being deleted — you’ll just need to be “active.” Here’s how, according to Google:
- Sign in at least once every two years
- Read or send an email
- Use Google Drive
- Watch a YouTube video
- Download an app from the Play Store
- Use Google search
- Use Sign in with Google to log into a third-party app or service
It’s also worth making a new password and setting up two-factor authentication while you’re checking out your dormant account.