In a new post by Google, they have updated their inactive account policies which will take effect in December 2023 to enhance user security. The updated policy states that if a Google Account remains unused or not signed into for a period of two years, it may be deleted, along with its contents across various Google products such as Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, and Google Photos. This change aims to minimize the risk of compromised accounts, which often rely on outdated or reused passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and receive fewer security checks from users.
It is important to note that this policy applies specifically to personal Google Accounts and will not impact accounts for organizations such as schools or businesses. Google will implement the policy gradually, starting with accounts that have been created but never used again. Before deleting an account, Google will send multiple notifications to the account email address and recovery email address (if provided) over the months leading up to deletion.
To ensure the continued activity of a Google Account, users are advised to sign in at least once every two years. This activity can include actions such as reading or sending emails, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, downloading apps from the Google Play Store, using Google Search, or signing in to third-party apps or services using the “Sign in with Google” feature. Additionally, it is important to specifically sign in to Google Photos every two years to be considered active and prevent the deletion of photos and other content. Google will also send multiple notifications before taking any action regarding account deletion.
Google encourages users to create a backup plan for their account and its content. It is recommended to provide a recovery email during the sign-up process and ensure that the recovery email is up-to-date in the account settings. Google offers various free tools to help users manage their accounts and backup their data. Users can utilize the Takeout feature to download and export their data to other platforms. The Inactive Account Manager allows users to specify what happens to their account and data if it becomes inactive for a period of up to 18 months. Options available during enrolment include sending specific files to trusted contacts, applying a Gmail autoresponder, or deleting the account entirely.