Your inactive Gmail accounts will get deleted — how to keep them active

No Gmail
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Beware! If you've got any Gmail accounts that you've been neglecting, Google will eliminate them, especially if it's been inactive for a specific period of time. Not only will you lose your inbox, but other contents from Google services will be scrapped, too.

Google says that it has updated its policy regarding inactive accounts to protect its users from account hijacking, spam, phishing scams, and other security threats.

Google's new inactive accounts policy

How long can you leave your Gmail account inactive before Google terminates it? According to a new blog post from Google, it will get purged after two years. And yes, you will lose everything, your emails, YouTube contents, Google Photos — even Google Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar.

As mentioned, Google is eliminating inactive accounts for security reasons. The search-engine giant claims that an internal analysis concluded that abandoned accounts are 10 times less likely to have two-step verification set up. In other words, these accounts are more susceptible to cybercriminal activity (e.g., identity theft).

Google said that it will kick off its purging of inactive accounts in December 2023. "We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again," Google said in a blog post,

The search engine giant says that it will send targeted users multiple notifications regarding an impending account closure months before closure. These warning will be sent to both the account email address, and if provided, the recovery email, too.

How to keep your Gmail account active

Google GIF

(Image credit: Future)

Wondering how to keep your Gmail accounts out of Google's crosshairs? If you do at least one of these activities below once every two years, you'll steer clear of the upcoming purge

  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign In with Google to sign into a third-party service or app
  • Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Using Google Drive
  • Reading an email
  • Sending an email

Google says that Google accounts with an existing subscription are safe, so those accounts won't be impacted (even if there is no activity outside of that subscription).

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!