Google may start deleting dormant Gmail accounts later this year
It's been a few years since Google announced that it would begin deleting data from dormant Google accounts in order to save storage space. At the time, this policy didn't include deleting the accounts themselves but only some of the content, however, this policy has now been updated where unused free accounts are now in danger of being completely purged at the end of the year.
The old policy stated that starting on June 1st, 2021, files inside of Google's suite of productivity applications — such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files, as well as Google Photos — would count towards the 15GB of free storage. Additionally, it stated that accounts that were inactive in one of more of those applications for a period of 24 months, or over their storage limit, would be considered for content deletion. Of course, none of the above would happen without properly notifying the user so that action could be taken to avoid important data loss.
9to5Google but has not been officially updated in the Google One Help Center where recommendations are currently documented. According to 9to5, "If a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, Google will delete that personal account and its contents. In addition to the email address becoming inaccessible, Gmail messages, Calendar events, Drive, Docs, and other Workspace files, as well as Google Photos backups, will be removed." This new practice is expected to begin in December 2023 and take place in stages, starting with the accounts that were obviously created but never really used.The updated policy was confirmed directly to
It is important to note that, at the moment, Google is not planning to delete accounts that are associated with YouTube videos or Workspace accounts managed by a company or a school. Additionally, Google is also reiterating that none of this will happen without properly notifying the account owner and that multiple notifications will be sent prior to any deletion. Needless to say, if you do have a dormant Google account, this would be a good time to make sure you have a working recovery email associated with it and/or head over to the Inactive Account Manager to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
This is all a big deal, considering that it's no longer just the files that can be purged, but also the email address. I imagine there are a great deal of legacy Gmail accounts out there that are inactive and taking up desirable usernames that cannot be used. In fact, Google isn't the only company practicing inactive account purges, as this has also been a recent concern for Twitter and Microsoft.