Google Starts Deleting Inactive Accounts This Week

Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska Senior Editor
Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska Senior Editor

Beginning Friday, Google is moving ahead with the plan it announced months ago to purge accounts that have remained inactive for two years or more.

This affects a wide range of Google services, including Gmail, Google Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos, meaning all content sitting across an inactive Google suite account can be removed under the company’s new policy.

Exceptions include school or business-managed accounts or personal accounts that have uploaded at least 1 video to YouTube, manage active minor accounts, contain a gift card balance, or have been used to purchase subscriptions that are ongoing.

Google said it’s taking a “phased approach” and will start with accounts that weren’t used after their creation.

The company announced the decision back in May, saying the new policy will prevent security risks, citing internal findings that older accounts receive fewer security checks, are less likely to have important security measures like 2-step verification, and are more likely to use recycled passwords, which makes them more vulnerable to hacking, spam, and phishing.

A compromised account “can be used for anything from identity theft to … unwanted or even malicious content, like spam,” Google explained.

Google has been sending warnings to users affected by the new policy since August in the form of alerts to impacted accounts and backup emails to those accounts.

“We want to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorized access to your account even if you’re no longer using our services,” Google wrote in an August policy update.

To save your account, all you need to do is log into your Google account. According to Google, actions that signal to the company that an account is active include reading or sending an email, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app on the Google Play store, using Google Search or Google Drive, and signing into third-party apps or services via Sign In with Google.

If you want to let your old account expire but save your data, you can go to this Google site that explains how to download your data to your device.

About the Author
Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska
Senior Editor

About the Author

Penka Hristovska is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She was an editor at several review sites that covered all things technology — including VPNs and password managers — and had previously written on various topics, from online security and gaming to computer hardware. She’s highly interested in the latest developments in the cybersecurity space and enjoys learning about new trends in the tech sector. When she’s not in “research mode,” she’s probably re-watching Lord of The Rings or playing DOTA 2 with her friends.