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Google issues fresh caution about inactive account deletion, but you can prevent it

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Earlier this year in May, Google began warning users about inactive accounts that it would delete by the end of the year, 2023. This decision was announced for accounts that were dormant for two years or more. Later on, it excluded YouTube from its list, and with good reason, clarifying that it would not be doing so for unused accounts that had YouTube videos on them. Google summarised its plans as follows:

  • While the policy takes effect today, it will not immediately impact users with an inactive account — the earliest we will begin deleting accounts is December 2023.

  • We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again.

  • Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided).

As you also probably noticed above, the company reiterated at that time that this change will be rolled out "slowly and carefully, with plenty of notice". True to its words, Google has issued its second caution today. Here's a screenshot of an email received by such a user (via BleepingComputer):

Notice about inactive Google account via email

Of course, Google has also explained the ways in which one can prevent this hence if you are a user who received such a warning, you can do one or more of the following:

The simplest way to keep a Google Account active is to sign-in at least once every 2 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 Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

If you have an existing subscription set up through your Google Account, for example to Google One, a news publication or an app, we also consider this account activity and your account will not be impacted. Additionally, we do not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.

You may find more details about Google's decision in its blog post.

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