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Google will start shutting down inactive Gmail accounts from December 1

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Google is set to commence its long-anticipated purge of Gmail data and photos associated with inactive accounts starting December 1.

If an account remains dormant for over two years, Google will erase it alongwith all its contents, including Gmail messages, photos, calendars, appointments, Contact records, YouTube videos, and drive documents.

Google’s rationale behind this move is to mitigate the risk of compromised accounts. Forgotten and neglected accounts are more susceptible to security breaches, often relying on outdated or reused passwords without two-factor authentication. Google’s decision is a proactive measure to enhance overall security.

Users with old Google accounts who wish to retain their accounts should act quickly, as there are only a few days before the purge starts. Just log in to your old account to activate it once more.

Here are the things that Google considers as being ‘active’:

  • Sending or reading an email.
  • Saving a file on Google Drive.
  • Watching YouTube.
  • Photo sharing.
  • App downloading from Play Store.
  • Using Search.
  • Signing in via Google account to any third-party services.
  • Have a YouTube channel with videos on it.
  • Have subscribed to any service via your Google account.

Google users should do any of the activities mentioned above at least once every two years to message Google that their account is active.

It’s essential to note that this cleanup only pertains to personal Google accounts, not business or school accounts. Also, Google has assured us that the deleted account’s email address is gone forever and cannot be used again.

Users who haven’t used their Google Account in a while and have forgotten their passwords can use the password recovery tool by Google. The only caveat is that they should have their phone number and recovery email address linked to the Google account.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: