If you have an old Gmail account lying around that you haven’t used in a while, make sure to use it before December 1, or Google will permanently delete it. By ‘in a while,’ Google means two years. That’s the criteria they have set for the amount of time that should have passed for them to consider an account inactive.
Google’s Inactive Account Policy states, “Google products reserve the right to delete your data when your account has not been used within that product for two years. December 1, 2023, is the earliest a Google Account will be deleted due to this policy.”
Google announced their plans to do this a couple of months ago, so a reminder at this point was necessary as the deadline is a few weeks away now. You can do multiple things using your account that Google will count as valid activity and not go ahead with deleting it. It can be something as simple as signing in. You can also read or send an email, use Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, share photos, download an app, or look something up while signed in.
If you haven’t done any of these in two years, Google will label it inactive and delete it. There are a number of things you will lose when your account is gone. This includes your Google Photos, Google Calendar events, Google Docs, and emails. They will send a notification and a recovery email before they delete it, though.
It might be important to note that this doesn’t apply to accounts that are linked to an employer, school, or organization. Only your personal accounts are at risk of deletion. Also, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If your account was used to purchase something in the Google Play store or if your account has a gift card with an active balance, then it won’t be deleted.
Google says it’s doing this to protect your unused accounts against hacking. Hackers tend to go after inactive or unused accounts and use those to send scam emails. The fact that inactive accounts mostly don’t have two-factor authentication enabled makes them an even more tempting target.