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Google will delete millions of Gmail accounts next month – here’s what you need to know

Published Nov 9th, 2023 3:14PM EST
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Image: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Google is set to complete a massive Gmail purge in December, where the company estimates it will likely wipe millions of user accounts from its service. The company shared plans to delete Gmail accounts earlier this year, citing “inactivity” and the need to make Gmail a safer and more secure option as the main reasons behind the move.

“People want the products and services they use online to be safe and secure. Which is why we have invested in technology and tools to protect our users from security threats, like spam, phishing scams and account hijacking,” Ruth Kricheli, VP of Product Management at Google, shared in a post.

“Even with these protections, if an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised. This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.”

Google Play on an Android phone.
Google Play on an Android phone. Image source: Google

While we have known about the upcoming Gmail purge for several months, those who don’t pay close attention to the media may have missed the memo. With the purge starting in less than a month, it’s important for users to have a good idea of what is happening here.

If you want to keep your Gmail account active and avoid mass deletion, you’ll need to make sure you remain active on it. That can look like a few different things, but mostly, you need to sign in to your Google account and then use it for one reason or another – to read an email, watch a YouTube video, etc.

Doing this will ensure that Google doesn’t count your username and account as an inactive one when its massive Gmail purge kicks off next month. But throwing out old and possibly compromised accounts is more than just a good move for safety. It also means that usernames taken for a long time might get thrown out, so if you’ve been looking to change to a more suitable username, it could become available after the purge begins. There’s no guarantee, of course.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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