Google to delete 2-year-old inactive accounts

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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Google to delete 2-year-old inactive accounts

GOOGLE. A Google sign is pictured outside the Google office in Berlin, Germany, on August 31, 2021.

Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Google cites security reasons for the policy change, as 'abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up'

Google on Tuesday, May 16, announced it was updating its policies for account inactivity. The changes to its policies would make it possible for the company to delete old, unused accounts that haven’t logged been logged into in about two years.

Google cited security reasons for the change, as “abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up.” This means they run the risk of being insecure and more easily breached, allowing these accounts to be used in identity theft or spamming or phishing instances.

Said the company in a blog post, “To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos.”

This change applies to free, personal Google accounts and not the ones managed by a school or business. Account deletions will occur in phases, beginning December 2023, and users will be sent notifications to use those accounts or lose them.

To prevent deletion, the bare minimum action required is to log into an account at least once every two years, though you can also watch a YouTube video, download an app on the Play Store, or use a Google-related service – such as Search, Gmail, or Google’s sign-in service for a third-party application – to refresh the timer.

A report from 9to5Google adds that “using a signed-in Android device” is also considered activity for a given account, and that Google is not currently planning on deleting accounts with YouTube videos, seeing as some abandoned accounts with videos may have content of historical importance or relevance.

More information on the policy changes is available on Google’s support page for the matter. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.