With the increasing prevalence of scams (spyware, fake QR codes, and cookies, as well as the risks associated with charging your phone in public), there are numerous ways to fall victim to online threats these days and when it comes to cybersecurity, we often overlook the potential dangers posed by our abandoned email accounts which may have been created for specific purposes such as managing fundraisers or facilitating property sales.

However, Google has alerted users that these inactive accounts can pose risks to both themselves and others: Inactive email accounts are more vulnerable to security breaches, including phishing attacks and unauthorized account access so, as a result, Google has implemented a new policy to delete accounts that have remained inactive for 2 years or more.

The good news is that you can easily prevent your dormant accounts and their associated data from being deleted. Here is everything you need to know about Google’s recent policy.

Google implemented a new policy to delete accounts that remained inactive for 2 years or more. (Image: “Gmail on Laptop in Dark” by Image Catalog)

When does the deletion process start?

While Google’s policy became effective on May 16, 2023, the actual deletion process will not start until December 2023 at the earliest. Google will implement the deletion in phases, beginning with accounts that were created but have never been utilized. The company will send multiple email notifications to both the inactive account itself and the associated recovery email if one was set up.

The actual deletion process will not start until December 2023. (Image: “gmail google email” by stockcatalog )

Data Affected by the Deletion

Many individuals rely on their email accounts as a form of backup storage, assuming that their data will always be accessible. Therefore, it is crucial to safeguard any inactive Google account you have been using to store files. If the account gets deleted, all associated content will be permanently lost, including Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, etc.) and Google Photos.

Protect Your GMail Account from Deletion

If you possess a Google account that you intentionally haven’t used or may have forgotten about but wish to retain, you can take some actions to ensure it is not deleted:

1. Read or send an email.
2. Use Google Drive.
3. Watch a YouTube video.
4. Download an app from the Google Play Store.
5. Perform a search using Google.
6. Use the “Sign in with Google” feature to log in to third-party apps or services.

It is crucial to perform these activities to maintain both the accessibility and security of your Gmail account before the deletion process is initiated.

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