Google To Begin Deleting Inactive Accounts On Friday

Users have until Friday, as search giant Google moves ahead with plan to delete accounts inactive for at least two years

Alphabet’s Google will this week begin implementing its previously announced plan to delete inactive accounts.

Back in May in a blog post, Google warned it would delete accounts that have remained unused for two years starting December, in an effort to minimise security threats, including possible hacks.

Google at the time stated that inactive accounts were more likely to be compromised, because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised.

Inactive accounts

Those inactive accounts also likely do not have two factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.

Therefore this purge of inactive accounts will begin on Friday 1 December, so now might the time for people who have not checked their accounts in years to do so, in order to stop them being wiped.

To save an account, the user should sign in, or while they are signed in to their Google Account, they should do the following:

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

CNN reported that Google has been sending warnings to affected users since August, with multiple alerts sent to impacted accounts and user-provided backup emails.

Safety measure

The first accounts that will be deleted are those that were created and then never revisited by the user.

“We want to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorised access to your account even if you’re no longer using our services,” Google reportedly wrote in an August policy update.

The Google accounts that are at risk cover services such as Gmail, Google Docs, Drive, Photos etc.

The actual deletion of inactive accounts is a step beyond a 2020 decision, when Google had said it would remove content stored in an inactive account, but not delete the account itself.