I’m sure I’m not the only one who has multiple Gmail accounts. Over the years, I have used these accounts for various purposes. One account, in particular, has been my go-to for signing up for free trials on the internet. I don’t want my main Gmail account flooded with promotional material and obscure important emails.

However, I don’t log into that free trial account very often. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I logged in or what the password was.

Google has recently updated its policy regarding inactive accounts. Accounts that have been inactive for more than 2 years will be deleted.

Google has yet to release all the details about how the new policy for inactive accounts will work, but here’s what we know so far:

  • Accounts that have not been used for two years will be deleted.
  • The new policy will take effect in December 2023.
  • Deleted Gmail addresses will not be made available for reuse. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
  • Accounts with YouTube videos will not be deleted.
  • If you decide you no longer need an alternate account, you can export your data from that inactive account before it is deleted.
  • Google will start with accounts that were created and never used again.
  • Google will send multiple notifications to inactive accounts before they are deleted.

How to keep your account active

To prevent the deletion of your alternate email address due to inactivity, it is important to log in and engage in some form of activity at least once every two years. There are several actions you can take to ensure that your account remains active and is not deleted:

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive to store or access files
  • Watching a video on YouTube
  • Downloading an app from the Google Play Store
  • Conducting a search using Google Search
  • Signing in to a third-party app or service using the “Sign in with Google” feature

It is important to note that you must be signed in to your account for these activities to count towards maintaining its active status.

If you are unable to engage in any of these activities, it may be considered that you do not have a need for the account and it may be subject to deletion.

However, there are certain circumstances under which your account will not be deleted even if you do not use it for two years. If you have an existing subscription set up through your Google Account, such as a subscription to Google One, a news publication, or an app, your account will remain active. Google considers subscriptions to be a form of account activity and will not delete accounts with active subscriptions.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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