Gmail deletes accounts. How do you prevent this from happening, what do you need to do to not lose your email?

Which Google accounts may be deleted? What is known about the platform’s plans?

Google on Tuesday announced that it is changing its policy on inactive accounts and may delete Gmail, YouTube, and Google Photos accounts that have not been used for at least two years, starting at the end of 2023.

Developer Ruth Kricheli explained that the new policy applies only to personal accounts and will not be implemented for business accounts. What is known about Google’s plans at this point, and how can you protect your account from deletion?

Google account deletion

Google announced on one of its pages that accounts that have not been used recently will be successively deleted.

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.

All of this is aimed at providing better security. Unused accounts are less likely to have multi-step authentication configured, a tool that was widely implemented years ago and provides significant protection against hackers.

 Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, 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 deletion of Google accounts will begin in December 2023, giving users just over six months to log into their accounts if they want to keep them. Google says it will start by deleting accounts that were created but never used, and slowly move on to others. Google will also send multiple warnings that an account will be deleted, which is unlikely to remain unnoticed by anyone who uses their account.

Those who care about preserving their accounts should save what is on them or simply send a message so that they will not be considered inactive. According to the developer’s statement, accounts that disappear will not release their name, which will always remain unavailable.