Do you have a dormant Google account that you’d like to keep? It’s crucial to log in soon as Google is set to commence the deletion of inactive accounts starting December 1st, 2023 (Friday). The initiative aims to enhance privacy and free up server space by removing accounts that have been inactive for a minimum of two years.
Google emphasized the increased vulnerability of long-unused accounts to potential compromise, citing outdated or reused passwords, lack of two-factor authentication, and reduced security oversight by users. The company will send warning emails to inactive accounts before deletion, provided an email address has been set up. It’s important to note that this policy is applicable to personal accounts only, excluding business or education accounts. Certain accounts, such as those with uploaded YouTube videos, active paid subscriptions, or gift cards, will be exempt from deletion. The deletion process will begin with accounts that have never been utilized, as announced by Google in May.
To prevent account deletion, it’s necessary to log into the inactive account and engage with some of its services, such as reading or sending an email, utilizing Google Drive, or watching a YouTube video. For those with content saved in Google Photos, it’s crucial to access that specifically, given Google’s distinct policy for the service: ‘If you’re inactive in Google Photos for two years or more, all of your content may be deleted.’
Google is not the sole entity enforcing such policies; Microsoft, since 2019, has been deleting inactive Outlook (or related Hotmail) accounts after a two-year period. As a general precaution, it’s advisable to use Google’s Takeout feature to back up your accounts and maintain a backup email for any critical accounts.