Got an old Google account you want to keep? It may be in danger of permanent deletion

Google icon on iPhone
(Image credit: Brett Jordan)

Google has announced a change to its inactive account policy, so if an account is unused for at least two years, it will now be deleted.

The change to Google's inactive account policy comes with the company stating that older accounts that lie unused are at higher risk of being compromised due to a lack of two-factor authentication and older, easy-to-guess passwords.

Ruth Kricheli, VP of Product Management, said, "To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least two years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos.

The policy only applies to personal Google Accounts and will not affect accounts for organizations like schools or businesses. This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and limits how much time Google retains your unused personal information."

Google's new inactive account policy

If you've not logged into your Google account in a while, you still have time to ensure it doesn't disappear into the ether. Google has made sure to highlight that accounts will not be deleted prior to December 2023. 

In December 2023, Google will start a phased approach and delete accounts, starting with those that have been created and never used again. And, fret not, Google will make sure to alert you multiple times before the final deletion via the account email address and your recovery email.

For those of us that use our Google account daily, there isn't anything to worry about here, but make sure you're logged into all the accounts you want to keep on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to be sure that nothing gets deleted.

How to keep your Google account active

(Image: © Google)

Keeping your Google account active is easy. Just sign in once every two years. That means you're keeping your account active whenever you read or send an email, use Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, or even just use Google search. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.