Gmail accounts left idle for over two years are getting deleted

Home » Gmail accounts left idle for over two years are getting deleted
Gmail accounts left idle for over two years are getting deleted

Google’s Gmail logo

Google is altering its policy regarding inactive accounts, with a new time limit on idle accounts aiming to bring even more safety and security to its digital offerings.

On Tuesday, Google announced that its previous policy regarding inactive accounts is being altered a bit, all in the name of security. In the announcement, Google says older, inactive accounts are more prone to be compromised for a variety of different reasons, including reuse of passwords and not having two-factor authentication enabled.

Going forward, instead of idling an account with the potential for data recovery, Google will delete the inactive account in its entirety.

The company says that if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, then it is possible the account will be deleted, along with all of its data. That data extends beyond just Gmail, though, with Calendar, Meet, Docs, Drive, YouTube, and Google Photos also getting the clean sweep.

However, the announcement does also note that this new policy only impacts personal accounts. Accounts associated with schools or businesses will not be touched.

Google also says there will be plenty of notice, with the company sending out multiple notification emails to the account before it is deleted. And this isn’t happening right away, with the company noting the first inactive accounts will start being deleted in December of this year.

The whole process will be a phased approach as well. Google is starting with accounts that were set up and then never used after that.

How keep your Google account active

  • Use Google Drive
  • Downloading an app with that account via the Google Play Store
  • Use Google Search
  • Utilize Google’s “Sign in with Google” feature to access a third-party app or service
  • Watch a YouTube video
  • Read or send an email via Gmail

And if you have a subscription set up with that account, to something like Google One, the company will deem that account as active and it will remain that way.

Interestingly, the announcement doesn’t confirm whether or not setting up an alias, something you can also do with Apple’s Mail app, via Gmail and having it forward emails to a different account is reason enough to identify an account as active. AppleInsider has reached out for comment and clarification.

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