Google is finally cracking down on inactive accounts. This week, Google announced an update to its inactivity policy, lowering the amount of time that a Google Account can stay inactive to two years. Starting later in 2023, if you haven’t used or logged in to a Google Account for at least two years, Google may delete the account and all of its contents. That includes content within Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos.
As Google explains, accounts that haven’t been accessed for an extended period of time are far more likely to be compromised. Older accounts are more likely to use compromised passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and receive fewer security checkups.
Google says that it will roll out its new inactivity policy in phases. The first accounts to be deleted will be the ones that were created and never used again. Then Google will move on to accounts that were active at one time but haven’t been used in years. Google says that users will receive multiple notifications in the months leading up to a potential deletion. These notifications will be sent to the account email address as well as the recovery email.
Google also says that the earliest any accounts will be deleted is December 2023, so you won’t have to scramble to log in to all of your accounts right away.
In order to keep your account active, you can perform any of the following actions:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
- Using Google Search
- Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
- Paying for an active subscription through your Google Account
Keep in mind that Google also has a separate two-year inactivity policy for Google Photos. If you don’t specifically log in to Google Photos at least once every two years, Google may delete your photos and videos. Sending an email, watching a YouTube video, or searching on Google does not count toward your Google Photos activity.