Google Will Delete Inactive Accounts: Here’s How To Save Yours – CNET

It’s time to freshen up those forgotten Google accounts — or risk losing them. The company said in a blog post on Tuesday that it may delete Google accounts that have not been used or even signed into within the past two years. This policy will start later in 2023, and will include such Google accounts as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube and Google Photos.

According to Google, those inactive accounts are more likely to be compromised. They may use old, outdated passwords that have since been compromised. And these older accounts are 10 times less likely to have two-factor authentication set up, the post reports, making the data less secure.

“These accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam,” the post reports.

How to preserve your Google accounts

It’s not difficult to preserve your Google accounts. You need to sign in at least once every two years, so if you can’t remember if you’ve done that, now’s the time. 

Reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app on the Google Play Store, using Google search or using Google to sign in to a third-party app or service all register as some sort of activity that will keep your account active. And if you have a subscription set up through your Google account, to Google One, a news publication or to an app, that’s also considered activity.

When will Google accounts be deleted?

Technically, you have time to get around to this, since Google will start deleting accounts in December 2023. And the first accounts to be deleted will be accounts that were created and never used again.

Also, Google says it will send multiple notifications before an account is deleted. Those notifications will go both to the main account email address as well as any backup email address that was provided.

But don’t wait around, it’s too easy to forget. Better to do it now than risk losing anything you’d like to keep.

Which Google accounts should you worry about?

Google Workspace includes popular programs like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar, so you may have more than one of those accounts. YouTube and Google Photos are also affected.

The policy change only affects personal Google Accounts, and not those for organizations, like schools or businesses.

Google’s announcement follows Twitter CEO Elon Musk last week similarly saying Twitter will soon purge inactive accounts, which could open up more than 1.5 billion accounts.