Google announced back in May that it would start hacking away at inactive accounts by the end of this year, and it's finally time. By the end of this week/from December, Google will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years.
Google will not be deleting all eligible accounts at once but will instead do it in a phased manner. It will start with accounts that were created but never used again before beginning to delete accounts that have not been logged in or used for the last two years.
Account deletion will affect all Google services, but conditions apply
Once an account is deleted, data across all Google services and platforms, including Gmail, Docs/Sheets/Slides, Drive, Meet, and Calendar, will be gone. Your YouTube profile will be deleted as well unless you have uploaded videos on your YouTube account.
Google has been sending notifications to the primary and recovery emails of inactive users over the last few months reminding them of the upcoming deletion of inactive accounts, but if you have missed those notifications and have an old Google account you don't want to lose, you can simply log in to it now to keep it safe for another two years.
You can also do the following to make sure your account stays active:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Sharing a photo
- Downloading an app
- Using Google Search
- Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
Not all inactive accounts will be purged
Google says that accounts that have been used for signing up on websites and subscriptions (including a subscription to Google One) will not be deleted even if users have not actively used those accounts for Google services and platforms for the last two years. Finally, accounts set up through your work, school, or other organization are safe as well.
Google Photos needs to be logged into separately to prevent deletion
If you have backed up photos and videos to Google Photos, you will have to log in to Google Photos to prevent deletion of your data. Simply logging in to your account on other Google services will not protect your Google Photos data. You must visit Google Photos on the web or through its mobile app to make sure you can continue to use it, and this is required to be done at least once in two years.