As part of an effort to boost security and optimize storage space, Google is implementing a new policy regarding inactive accounts. Inactive accounts that have been inactive for at least two years will be deleted later this year. Personal Google Accounts are affected, not business or school accounts. YouTube videos won’t be deleted, though, to preserve history.

At the earliest, Google plans to start deleting GMail accounts that were created but never used in December 2023. Several notifications will be sent to the account’s email address and the recovery email, if provided, in the months leading up to deletion. Users have enough time to take action or retrieve any important data before their accounts are permanently deleted.

A user needs to sign in or perform basic actions like reading or sending emails, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, downloading apps from the Play Store, doing Google searches, or signing in to third-party apps. The use of a signed-in Android device is also considered activity, according to Google.

Google Photos already has a separate two-year sign-in and usage policy. Active accounts on the Play Store are also those with active subscriptions, like Google One.

Security is the main reason for this change. Accounts with old or reused passwords are more vulnerable to compromise. According to Google’s internal analysis, abandoned accounts are 10 times less likely to have two-step verification enabled than active accounts. As a result of deleting these inactive accounts, Google aims to mitigate the risks associated with identity theft, spam, and malicious content.

In addition, this helps limit the retention of unused personal information. When an account is deleted, Google won’t let users reuse their Gmail addresses, which sets it apart from other services.

When an account becomes inactive, Google suggests assigning a recovery email and using the Inactive Account Manager. Through this tool, you can send files to trusted contacts, set up an autoresponder in Gmail, or delete your account.