Google has announced that it will begin deleting, or purging, specific personal Google accounts starting from December 1. This removal will affect a wide range of content, including Gmail messages, Google Photos libraries, Google Calendar appointments, and Google Docs archives. If the news about Google deleting inactive accounts caught you off guard, it’s not Google’s fault. In July, Google sent emails warning about the account deletions starting in December. These emails mentioned that inactive accounts would receive “several reminder emails” before any action. Even if the account isn’t currently active, notification emails will be sent to any recovery email address on record. In December, the first accounts to be affected are those created but never used again.
Will Google Delete Your Photos and Gmail Content?
With over 1.8 billion Gmail users, and reaching 2 billion for Google Photos users, the chances of your account being affected are statistically low. The purge, driven by security concerns, targets only inactive personal accounts—those not signed into for at least two years. If you’ve used Gmail, stored files in Google Drive, downloaded from the Play Store, added photos to Google Photos, or performed a logged-in Google search in the last two years, your content is safe. Google business accounts remain unaffected.
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Inactive Google Accounts May be at Risk
Ruth Kricheli, a Google vice president of product management, explained the inactive account policy update in May. According to Kricheli, unused accounts are more susceptible to compromise due to the lack of regular security checks, the absence of two-factor authentication, and potential use of insecure passwords. Internal analysis revealed abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active ones to have 2-step verification. Compromised Google accounts offer threat actors significant access to emails, documents, and the potential to reset passwords, steal identities, and engage in malicious activities.
What are You Supposed to do in Order not to Lose your Google Content
To safeguard your Gmail, Google Photos, and other linked content, most users need not take any action. Single-account holders who have signed in within the last two years are secure. However, those with multiple accounts should ensure they sign in at least once every 24 months to prevent deletion. If account details are forgotten, the Google account recovery process can be used, requiring a recovery email or phone number. Verification codes will be sent, allowing users to reset passwords via the forgotten password route.