If you haven’t logged into your Google account in a long time, you should do it once, or your account may cease to exist. Google announced earlier this year that it would start deleting inactive Google accounts that haven’t been used for at least two years, starting December 2023.
The search giant cautioned that inactive accounts are more likely to be compromised, and they are at least 10 times 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 company said at the time.
To prevent your Google account from getting purged, all you need to do is sign in at least once every 2 years. Your account will be considered active if you use one of Google’s services like Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, Sign-in with Google button, or download an app from Google Play.
However, it’s worth noting that you need to sign in to Google Photos specifically every two years to ensure your uploaded photos and other media don’t get deleted. Google won’t purge your account if there is an active subscription, such as Google One, or if your account has YouTube videos.
This inactivity policy only applies to personal accounts and will not affect organizations, schools, or businesses. However, this doesn’t mean Google will start removing all inactive accounts from December 1. The account deletion process will happen in a phased manner, where the search giant will first target accounts created and never used again.
It will send multiple reminders to a user’s primary and recovery emails before deleting their account after two years of inactivity. If you have an old Google account that you no longer need, you can use Google’s Takeout feature to download all your data.
You can also use the inactive account manager to configure what happens to your data if you become inactive in the future. For instance, you can choose to have your data deleted after a certain time period or give its access to a trusted contact.