As of Friday, Dec. 1, Google has initiated a process of deleting inactive accounts, potentially erasing photos, Gmail messages, Calendar appointments, Drive documents, Contacts records, and YouTube videos associated with these accounts. This move is part of Google’s effort to enhance security measures and minimize the risk of accounts being hacked.
Why is Google Deleting Inactive Accounts?
Google highlights the increased vulnerability of unused accounts, citing reliance on outdated or reused passwords, lack of two-factor authentication, and diminished user security checks. To counter this risk, Google may delete accounts and their contents if they remain inactive or unaccessed for a minimum of two years, meaning any account not accessed since 2021 may be subject to removal.
Preservation of Google Accounts: How to Prevent Deletion
To safeguard your older Google accounts, it’s crucial to log in at least once every two years. Various activities count as interaction, including reading or sending an email, utilizing Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, performing a Google search, or using Google to sign in to third-party apps or services. Additionally, subscriptions tied to your Google account, such as Google One or news publications, contribute to maintaining account activity.
It’s worth noting that this deletion policy applies exclusively to personal Google accounts, with business or school accounts remaining unaffected.
Timeline for Account Deletion
The account deletion process began this week, starting Dec. 1. Google has committed to sending reminder emails to an account’s primary and recovery email addresses at least eight months before taking any action. These emails serve as alerts about the imminent deletion, providing users with ample time to reactivate their accounts.
Forgot Your Google Account Credentials?
For those who possess an old Google account but struggle to recall login details, Google offers recovery options. If you’ve forgotten your password, Google provides a password recovery tool where users answer security questions to verify their account. In case you’ve forgotten your email address, a separate account recovery tool is available, requiring a phone number or recovery email address associated with the account. Google also provides guidance on troubleshooting if users encounter difficulties during the recovery process.
In summary, staying vigilant and engaging with your Google account regularly is the key to preserving its existence amidst Google’s new policy on inactive accounts.