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Google will start deleting inactive accounts this December

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Google is following up on its 2020 announcement to start deleting content from inactive accounts to preserve storage space, except now the search giant is deleting entire accounts that haven’t been active in two years.

While this change in the inactivity policy comes into effect starting May 16, Google won’t start deleting accounts until December 2023. Even then, it’s going to take a phased approach, deleting accounts that were created and never used again first. 

However, don’t worry about your Gmail account disappearing overnight just yet. The company will be sending out multiple notifications over the months leading up to the deletion, both to the Gmail account and the backup email as a reminder. Additionally, it has also announced the activities that indicate your account is active. 

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a Youtube video
  • Downloading an app from the Google Play Store
  • Using Google Search
  • Using the Sign in with Google option for a third-party app or service

Any subscriptions set up using your Google account are also considered activity and last but not least if your Google account is logged into an Android device, Google considers that active as well. That said, you will still need to specifically sign in to Google Photos every two years to be considered active and make sure Google doesn’t delete your photos and other content. 

Google is citing security as the leading reason behind this latest account deletion campaign. According to its internal analysis, “abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step verification set up”, meaning they’re far more vulnerable to takeovers and once a Google account has been taken over, the potential for mischief is endless. As hundreds of thousands of Google accounts get deleted though, all that reclaimed storage is also going to be a great incentive for the company’s actions. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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