Google is currently gearing up for another round of pruning of inactive Google and Gmail accounts this week. If you have an older account you'd like to keep a hold of and haven't used in a while, now is the time to log back in and flag to Google that the account is active and in use. If you don't, you could lose access to older emails as well as the contents of your Google Drive, and Google Photos.
Google's inactive account policy changed in May of 2023 to include accounts dormant for two years or more. However, this only applies to personal Google Accounts, with schools and businesses not affected by the coming purge. The reason for Google's pruning has to do with security as the brand believes accounts inactive for two years or more are much more likely to be compromised and pose a potential risk to others.
The purging of inactive accounts is due to start as early as Friday, with Google having announced a phased approach to the removal of these accounts starting in December.
Will my Google Account be deleted?
Google has stated that before any accounts are removed, it will send multiple notifications to users in advance (both to the account in question and any recovery email address that has been set up). So, if you haven't been checking your inbox regularly, now is the time to do so.
If you have a message from Google indicating that your inactive account has been flagged for deletion then now is the time to act.
How to keep your Google Account active
If you own a Google Account you don't make use of a lot but still want to keep a hold of it, make sure you log in to the account before Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. Doing this at least once every two years is typically enough to ensure that the system flags your account as active. However, Google also suggests performing some sort of activity on the account while logged in, in order to be certain. These activities can take just a minute or two to complete and include:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Downloading an app from the Google Play Store
- Signing in to a third-party app using your Google Account
- Performing a quick Google Search
Thankfully, while this reminder might be short notice, it only takes a few minutes to make sure your older accounts are safe from the coming security harvest. While seemingly unnecessary, the occasional pruning of older accounts raises the bar when it comes to security for all users and frees up resources for Google to maintain the integrity of its services for all active users — both free and paid!
Be sure to check your inboxes for any potential heads-up about your older accounts being flagged for deletion, and quickly perform an action or two to confirm Google is aware that you wish to keep your account alive and open.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.