If it’s been a while since you checked your primary, secondary, or burner Google account, you might want to log in—before it’s removed forever.
Google will begin removing inactive accounts this week on Thursday, December 1, along with all of the account’s data and contents, which includes everything such as emails, documents, photos—even calendar events.
Here’s what to know about the upcoming account purge.
Why is Google deleting inactive accounts?
According to a company blog post published in May, Google’s VP of Product Management Ruth Kricheli said that the action would be taken in an attempt to protect Google users from security threats including phishing scams and account hijacking.
“If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised,” Kricheli wrote. “Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step verification set up. 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.”
What accounts are eligible for deletion?
Google will begin wiping out accounts that have been inactive for two or more years.
Business accounts and accounts affiliated with educational institutions and companies will not be affected, regardless of their last time of login or usage.
“This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information,” Google said.
When will Google start deleting inactive accounts?
Google will be taking a “phased” approach to deleting inactive accounts starting December 1.
The company noted that accounts that are on the chopping block have been receiving notices and warnings over the past few months of the upcoming purge.
How do I prevent my account from being deleted?
Use it or lose it—and as soon as possible.
This can be done by simply logging in and sending an email, using Google Drive, or even watching a YouTube video or conducting a Google search while logged into your account.
In order to have no risk of deletion, it’s important to log in or perform one of these actions at least once every two years.