In 2020, Google announced that it will delete content stored in inactive accounts to save space on its servers. Now the company is updating its policy — accounts will be deleted completely.

If a Google Account has not been used for more than 2 years, the company may delete it along with the data stored in it. Email address, calendar events, Docs documents, Drive files, Google Photos, and other data will become unavailable.

At this time, Google has no plans to remove accounts that have YouTube videos. After all, some old channels may contain clips of historical significance.

Google will begin removing accounts this December in a phased approach. First, the company will get rid of accounts that were created and never used again.

Before deleting the account, Google will send several warnings to the user to his primary and backup email address (if one was specified). The change will only apply to free accounts and will not affect accounts managed by organizations or schools.

Google considers an account active if it is accessed periodically or performs some basic actions:

  • read or send email
  • use Google Drive
  • watch videos on YouTube
  • download applications from the Google Play Store
  • use Google Search
  • use the Sign in with Google function to log in to accounts on third-party resources

Also, Google considers activity if the account is used on an Android device, or if you have paid subscriptions, such as Google One.

The company offers an Inactive Account Manager tool so that you can decide what happens to your data if you are unable to use your account. For example, send files to trusted contacts or delete an account.

Google notes that these changes are aimed at strengthening security because inactive accounts often have old or reused passwords that could have been compromised. So attackers can access them and use them for anything from identity theft to sending spam.

It is also worth noting that Google will not release Gmail addresses after deleting inactive accounts.