Have a Google account that you created years ago and totally forgot about? Well, you should probably check on it right now because the account might be getting wiped out by the end of the week.
In May, Google updated its inactive accounts policy, where it stated that “forgotten or unattended” accounts posed security risks. Internal investigations showed that older accounts were more likely to rely on recycled passwords, often lacked two-step verification, and received fewer security checks. As a result, these accounts were far more vulnerable to phishing attacks, hacking, and spam.
Google Is Deleting Accounts That Haven’t Been Signed-In To In Two Years
Starting Friday, December 1, Google will be moving ahead with the plan to delete accounts that haven’t been signed into for at least two years. In a phased approach, the company will first remove accounts that were never revisited by the user once created.
Since August, Google has been warning affected users by sending alerts to email addresses affiliated with their accounts and the associated recovery addresses – if the user has assigned any.
This means everything from Gmail to Docs to Drive to Photos that are connected to your inactive account is at risk of being erased forever.
An older policy enacted in 2020 said that Google would wipe all contents from services users had stopped using, but the accounts themselves would not be deleted. However, that is all set to change.
In a policy update, Google said the new move was undertaken to protect user’s private information and prevent any unauthorized access to their accounts even if they no longer use the services.
Related Reading: Google Now Lets You Ask Bard-Specific Questions About YouTube Videos
Are There Any Exemptions To Google’s Inactive Account Policy?
There are indeed a few exceptions to the rule.
As per Google’s online policy, only personal Google accounts that haven’t been used for two years or more will be impacted. Meanwhile, accounts made for organizations, including schools, colleges, or corporations, will not be affected by the inactive accounts update.
Google accounts created by parents to manage minor accounts, accounts containing gift card balances, those with YouTube channels, as well as those used to purchase books, movies, Google products, apps, or subscriptions that are ongoing, will be exempt from deletion.
How Can I Prevent My Google Account From Being Deleted?
To save your account, all you need to do is log in to the account once every two years. Other actions that fulfill Google’s account activity requirement include reading an email, watching YouTube videos, or conducting a search after signing in to your inactive Google account.
Existing subscriptions that were set up through the account for third-party apps and publications will also count for activity.
However, preserving your media on Google Photos requires a specific sign-in. Google had previously announced that it would delete Photos content after two years of inactivity. This means you have to open the application often to prevent your photos and videos from being deleted automatically.
How Can I Save My Google Account Data?
Apart from making the effort to keep your unused accounts active, there are a few tools that Google offers to help you manage and back up data.
Google Takeout is a service that allows users to download and export account data outside Google services. The Inactive Account Manager lets users choose what they want to do with their accounts once they become inactive, like sending select files to trusted contacts or permanently deleting the account.
The company also said that it would work closely with immediate family members to close the account of a deceased user or provide some account content on a case-by-case basis. In both instances, Google won’t be sharing the account’s login credentials.
Google has asked users to provide or update the recovery email for their accounts so that they can be reached out in case inactive account notices or other communications need to be sent.