Google to start deleting inactive accounts — what that means for you

Google logo on building
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Use it or lose it. That's the warning that Google sent out to people with Google accounts yesterday via email (see screenshot below), stating that any account that has been inactive for two years will be eligible for deletion.

Fortunately, you have a few months before this policy goes into effect, as Google won't start deleting accounts until December 1, 2023, and will send out warning emails, starting 8 months in advance, to those whose accounts are at risk of being deleted. 

How to prevent your Google Account from being deleted

Google account deletion

(Image credit: Google)

If Google deems that your account has been inactive, it will send a series of emails to both your Gmail address as well as your recovery email account, if there is one. After a Google account has been deleted, the Gmail address for that account will no longer be able to be used to create a new account.

The easiest way to keep your Google account from being marked for deletion? Just log into it. Google also provided a list of other ways to ensure your account remains active:

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Sharing a photo
  • Downloading an app
  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

In its email, Google also stated a few exemptions to its account-deletion policy. 

Google accounts with YouTube channels, videos or comments, accounts with a gift card with a monetary balance; or an account that has a published application will not be marked as inactive, even if there has been no activity in two years. You can find other exemptions on Google's Inactive Account Policy page

More from Tom's Guide

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.