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How to Save Your Inactive Google Accounts in 2024

The Google icon on a smartphone home screen

Starting December 1, 2023, Google is deleting inactive personal accounts. A Google account is inactive if it hasn’t been used for two years. To save your account and preserve your emails, files, and photos, all you have to do is sign in to your Google account. That’s it!

So what happens if your account becomes inactive? Unfortunately, your whole Google account will be closed. This includes the content stored in your Google Workspace apps (like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Meet, etc.), as well as all the photos and videos in your Google Photos account.

It might feel like Google’s inactive account policy is threatening, but there are actually good reasons for it. When it comes to security, it’s more likely for an inactive account to not use two-step verification and for its password to be used elsewhere, leaving it vulnerable to hackers. Also, since this two-year window forces Google to erase all your data, it prevents them from holding onto your personal information indefinitely.

How to keep your Google account active

Below are actions you can take right now to “refresh” the 2-year period and keep your Google account active. If you’ve performed any of these actions recently, then there’s nothing you need to worry about; your account will not get deleted for inactivity reasons.

So pull up your phone, tablet, computer, or even our TV if you have to, and do one of the following:

1: Sign in to your Google account

Open the Google Account page and log in. This alone is enough to reactivate your Google account. It’s probably the easiest action you can take to keep your Google account. This also applies to “Sign in with Google” prompts that you might encounter on non-Google websites.

Note: To keep your media files that are stored in Google Photos, make sure you sign in there specifically at least once every two years. This is a specific requirement that’s separate from the whole-account activity requirement.

2: Watch any YouTube video

You can stream any YouTube video, so long as you do so while being logged in to your Google account. Be careful with this method, because it’s really easy to watch videos without being logged in; check the corner of the YouTube website or app to confirm that you’re logged in.

Tip: If you have videos posted on YouTube, Google has no plans to delete your account.

  1. Use Google Drive

It’s super simple to upload files to Google Drive or to download existing files from your account. If you’ve done either of those things, congratulations: You’ve saved your account from deletion!

  1. Send or receive an email

Another way to avoid an inactive Google account is to use Gmail. If this is your email service of choice, then there’s really nothing to be concerned about. Just read a message or send an email to anyone to prove to Google that your account is active.

  1. Download any app

Using the Google Play Store is a great way to save your inactive Google account. You have to be logged in to your account to download Android apps anyway, so it’s a surefire way to keep your account active. It can be anything, like a free movie streaming app.

  1. Use Google Search

This is similar to the YouTube method. You’re out of the woods if you’ve been using Google Search while logged in to your Google account. This can include anything on Google Search: a text or image search, Google Shopping, a reverse image search, etc.

  1. Subscribe to a Google service

I don’t recommend doing this just to keep your Google account around, but another way to save an inactive Google account is to subscribe to something owned by Google. For example, your Google account won’t get deleted as long as you’re paying for something like Google One, YouTube Premium, Nest Aware, etc. Check the Subscriptions area of your Google account for a list of active subscriptions.


Does Google tell you about inactive accounts?

Yes. You’ll receive several emails over the course of a few months before your account will get deleted. If you have a recovery email set up, that account will also receive inactive Google account notifications.

How long does it take for a Google account to be deleted?

Two years is how long Google lets an account remain inactive before it could be slated for removal.

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