If you’ve got an old Gmail or Google email account that you haven’t been using, you’ll want to log on quickly before it is deleted.
Google in December will begin deleting personal email accounts that have been inactive for two years. That also includes any associated content, including Google Workspace products like Google Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar and Photos.
Why is Google deleting inactive email accounts?
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Google said the move, which was announced in a Google blog post in May, is to protect users from scammers.
Forgotten or unattended accounts are more likely to be compromised because they “often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user,” Google said.
Google’s internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification set up. That can make them more likely to get compromised and used for anything from identity theft to malicious content like spam, the company said.
The policy only applies to personal email accounts and not accounts for organizations such as schools or businesses.
When is Google going to start deleting inactive accounts?
Google in May said it would take a phased approach to deleting inactive accounts.
- It will begin deleting accounts in December.
- Google will first start deleting accounts that were created and never used again.
- Before deleting an account, Google said it would send multiple notifications over the months leading up to the deletion, both to the account email address and recovery email, if one was provided.
How do I keep my Gmail account active?
You should sign on to your Google account at least once every two years, said Google. Any account or services that have recently been signed in are considered active and will not be deleted. Activity includes these activities:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
- Using Google Search
- Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
A subscription set up through a Google account, like Google One or a news publication or app, is also considered account activity.
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Google also said it does not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.
Google also suggests providing a recovery email and has some free tools to manage an account or provide options to backup data. Google has an Inactive Account Manager, which allows users to decide what happens to their account and data when it is inactive for 18 months. Options include sending specific files to trusted accounts, applying a Gmail auto responder and deleting the account.
Once your Google account is deleted, you will no longer have access to it or products linked to it. You also cannot reuse the same email to create a new account.
Betty Lin-Fisher is a consumer reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] or follow her on X, Facebook or Instagram @blinfisher.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Google this week will begin deleting inactive accounts. Here’s how to save yours.News Related