Google updated its inactivity policy for accounts to two years.
For Gmail users who don't regularly utilize their accounts, there is a possibility that they might lose access to their Gmail accounts in the upcoming month. In December 2023, millions of Gmail accounts are at risk of being deleted as part of a process that specifically aims to deactivate accounts that have remained inactive for a minimum of two years.
In a blog post written by Google Vice President of Product Management Ruth Kricheli in May, the company said it is taking steps to reduce the risk. Google is updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting in December, if a Google account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents, including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), and Google Photos.
"This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven't had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user," the post read.
"Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification set up. These accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam."
Who is at risk?
The policy only applies to personal Google accounts that haven't opened their Gmail account in two years and will not affect accounts for organizations like schools or businesses.
How to keep your account active
According to the Google blog post, the simplest way to keep a Google account active is to sign in at least once every two years. If you have signed into your Google Account or any of our services recently, your account is considered active and will not be deleted. Activity might include these types of actions you take when you sign in or while you're signed in to your Google Account:
Reading or sending an email
Using Google Drive
Watching a YouTube video
Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
Using Google Search
Using Google Sign-in to sign in to a third-party app or service
If you have an active subscription linked to your Google Account, such as Google One, a news publication, or an app, Google will take into account this ongoing account activity, and your account will remain unaffected. Furthermore, Google has no current intentions to delete accounts associated with YouTube videos.