Google announced plans to delete abandoned Gmail accounts on Dec. 1, and that deadline is quickly approaching.
Google is getting rid of unused accounts because they’re particularly susceptible to hacks. Hackers will often gain control of an old email address and then use it to send scam emails. Abandoned accounts are also less likely to have things like two-factor authentication enabled.
Starting on Dec. 1, the company will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for at least two years. Accounts will be removed via a phased approach, so the first ones to go will be accounts that were created and then never used again.
While it seems like a big move, it’s really just taking things a step further than it already does. Back in 2020, Google announced plans to delete the contents of abandoned accounts across Gmail, Drive, and Photos.
December’s account deletion will impact Gmail, Drive, Docs, Meet, Calendar, and Photos but the company has said it does not currently have plans to delete accounts that have YouTube or Blogger content connected to them.
Google says it will send multiple notifications in the months leading up to the account deletion before hitting that self-destruct button, so impacted folks should already have been sent a notification or two. Notifications are sent to the account in question, which obviously will do no good if it’s not in use, but also any recovery email addresses on file.
To keep your account current, all you need to do is log in. If you’re someone who does have a few accounts you keep dormant (my spam account comes to mind), now might be a good time to set yourself a reminder to check on it every few years.