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When will Google begin deleting old Gmail accounts? How to know if it will affect you

Google plans to clear up some space for its own servers by deleting old and inactive accounts. Who will be impacted?

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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has announced a major policy change: it will begin deleting inactive accounts if its owner does not log in for more than two years.

The deleting will begin on Dec. 1, 2023, so what can users do to keep their accounts from being eliminated?

Why are these accounts being deleted?

When making the announcement, Google said that the move would bolster security for the company and its users by limiting the chance of an account being hacked and personal and sensitive information being leaked.

Many of the accounts that will be deactivated were created before two-factor authentication was implemented, and the company highlighted that these accounts are “more likely to be compromised.”

Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up,” reported Google.

Which accounts will be deleted?

Google will begin eliminate accounts that haven’t been used for 2 years or more. “To reduce this risk, we are updating our 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, we may delete the account and its contents,” said Ruth Kricheli, Google Vice-president of Product Management in ‘The Keyword’ blog.

Will users be informed if their account is under threat of deactivation?

Yes. The company has made clear that they will be sending accounts under threat of deactivation multiple warning messages. Not only will those messages be sent to the e-mail that will be deleted, but to any “recovery email” in cases where one has been provided. If you do not receive one of these warnings, you will not be impacted by the policy change.

What about other Google accounts?

Google is also eliminating inactive content in apps like Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar and Google Photos.

How to keep your account active

Google offers advice to users about how to keep their accounts running. It’s main tips are:

from 'The Keyword' blog:

  • 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

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