Google will delete accounts that haven’t logged in in two years, including Gmail and Photos
- May 18, 2023
Google stated in 2020 that it would save storage space by removing content from an inactive account but not the account itself. Google is currently updating its inactivity policy so old, unused accounts will be deleted starting later this year.
Google will delete a personal account and any content associated with it “if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least two years.” Gmail messages, Calendar events, Drive, Docs, and other Workspace files, as well as Google Photos backups, will all be deleted in addition to the email address becoming inaccessible.
Google does not intend to delete accounts that contain YouTube videos at this time. That would be difficult due to the possibility of historical significance in some abandoned clips.)
Google will begin deleting inactive accounts in December 2023 (at the earliest) and take a “phased approach,” beginning with “accounts that were created and never used again.” The company declares that it is “going to roll this out slowly and carefully.”
In the meantime, this only applies to free Google Accounts and does not apply to school or business accounts.
What keeps an account active?
In addition to signing in periodically, being logged in and performing basic actions count as activity:
Reading or sending an email (like viewing an inactivity alert)
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
Moreover, Google lets us know that using a signed-in Android gadget is viewed as an activity.
To be considered active, Google Photos already has a separate two-year sign-in and usage policy. In the meantime, accounts are considered active when they have active Play Store subscriptions, such as Google One or third-party apps.
Today, Google suggests users assign a recovery email, and the organization directs clients to the Inactive Account Manager to decide “what happens to their account and data when it becomes inactive for a period of up to 18 months.” Sending files to trusted contacts, setting up a Gmail autoresponder, or deleting an account are options.
Why Google is deleting accounts?
In rolling out this improvement, Google refers to security, as inactive accounts — frequently with “old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised” — are more likely to be compromised.
Additionally, this “limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information,” which is regarded as a standard for the industry. Google will not free up Gmail addresses that can be reclaimed by deletion, in contrast to other services that have distinct security and privacy implications.