Google begins process of deleting inactive Gmail accounts

(NEW YORK) — If you have a Gmail account you haven’t used in a while – it could be deleted as soon as today.

Starting Dec. 1, Google will begin purging accounts that have not been used or signed into for at least two years. That means emails, Google Drive, Google Docs, calendar entries and photos will all be erased from these dormant accounts.

The company announced the move in May as part of an effort to protect users from security threats. Google says forgotten accounts often rely on old or reused passwords that could have been compromised. These accounts are 10 times less likely to have 2-step verification set up, increasing the likelihood of identity theft and spam.

If Gmail users have an old account that they want to preserve – all they need to do is sign in once every two years. Google says any of the following actions will also prevent an account from getting deleted once you’re signed in: read/send an email, use Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, download an app on the Google Play store or use Google Search.

Google says the policy only applies to personal accounts, not to organizations like schools or businesses. Accounts with YouTube videos are also exempt.

The first accounts to be deleted will be those that were created and never used again. Users who are affected should have received multiple notifications to the account email and recovery email address.

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