Have you not used your Gmail account for a long time? It may have already been deleted!

Have you not used your Gmail account for a long time? It may have already been deleted!

If you haven't used your Gmail account for a couple of years, but you have emails and attachments that are still important to you, you should check if they're all there because Google has started a massive cleanup of user accounts.

Starting from December 1, 2023, Google began deleting user accounts due to inactivity, although it is unclear exactly how many accounts have been deleted since then. Google's Inactive Google Account Policy states that the deletion only applies to personal Google accounts, and that "it doesn't apply to any Google Account that was set up for you through your work, school, or other organization." Google reserves the right to delete your account and all associated content, including documents and files you have in Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet) and Google Photos.

The goal of this campaign is to improve security because, according to corporate research, inactive accounts are more likely to be hacked and used for fraudulent purposes, including spreading malware. "Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification set up," Google Vice President of Product Management Ruth Kricheli said. "Meaning, 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," he explained. Google emphasizes that implementing this security measure significantly increases the difficulty for criminals attempting to gain unauthorized access.

Perhaps you rarely check your Gmail mail and are alarmed by this news? So which accounts does Google consider inactive? Let's figure it out.

As stated in the Google Account Inactivity Policy, accounts that have not been used within the last 2 years are considered inactive. Therefore, if you have at least opened and viewed emails in Jimail over the past two years, or used Google Drive at least once, then you do not need to worry about deleting your account. Moreover, in order for your account to be recognized as active, it was enough to also perform indirect actions on your account, such as watching a video on YouTube or using the "Sign in with Google" feature to sign in to a third-party application or service, or even downloading an app from Google Play Store.

"Google account activity is shown by account, not by device. You can perform actions on any surface where you are signed in to your Google account," Google's Inactive Google Account Policy states. In addition, account deletion will not occur without prior notice. For accounts that have not been used at all for the past two years, Google has made sure to notify users while also giving them the option to restore content that may be stored there.

Google also recommends that users create a backup plan for their account and content to prevent their content from being deleted in the future. This plan may use Takeout feature or the Inactive Account Manager tool, which will give account holders the ability to decide what happens to their account if they are inactive for a period of up to 18 months. Inactive Account Manager allows you to automatically forward emails to a backup address or send files to trusted contacts of your choice.