Home » Will Gmail delete inactive accounts?

Will Gmail delete inactive accounts?

Answer

As of the date listed above, Google may delete content in your Gmail account that has not been used for 24 months. Your Gmail account is considered inactive when you have not accessed it in over two years. Your Gmail account isn’t just deleted if you sign out and haven’t looked at it in a while–you’ll need to manually deactivate or fully delete your account to get rid of emails from months or even years ago.

How to Recover Deleted Gmail Account

Gmail is the most popular email service in the world. However, this popularity brings some problems. Some people use several Gmail accounts and forget about them or just don’t care about their fate.

The questions “Will Gmail delete inactive accounts?” or “Is it possible to delete an account if I haven’t used it for a while?” are very frequently asked on the Internet; there is a lot of contradictory information on this topic. In this article we’ll try to give you exact answers to these and other related questions concerning the life cycle of your Gmail account: Will Gmail close inactive/spam account automatically? How often does Google scan inboxes for non-active accounts? Is there any guarantee that even with no activity Google won’t delete your account?

How to ReActivate deleted Gmail Account

Last summer, Gmail announced a major update of its terms of service (to the delight or dismay of users as you like); one important change introduced with this update was that Google no longer guarantees that it will keep inactive accounts. I’ll repeat: according to Google’s new terms, the company may permanently delete your account after several months of inactivity. As usually happened during such changes, many rumors started spreading on what exactly does “inactive” mean; some people claimed for example that they have heard from their friends at Google that if an email address is not used for over 20 years then Gmail will automatically delete it.

Will Gmail delete inactive accounts?

As of the date listed above, Google may delete content in your Gmail account that has not been used for 24 months. Your Gmail account is considered inactive when you have not accessed it in over two years. Your Gmail account isn’t just deleted if you sign out and haven’t looked at it in a while–you’ll need to manually deactivate or fully delete your account to get rid of emails from months or even years ago.

How long are Gmail accounts kept?

In August 2012, when emails started getting sent out announcing the new Terms of Service (TOS) , Google made it clear that there is no guarantee what would happen with old unused email addresses . In short: “If you don’t log in after several years we may close your account.” Here is the exact quote from the announcement:
“We try hard to protect our users from spam and abuse. For this reason, any individual Google Account will be closed if it has remained inactive for 18 months. This means that you won’t be able to log in or send messages from that account, and its email will eventually be deleted.” Now let’s find out how soon exactly this might happen:
The data shows that the vast majority of active accounts were used only once (or very few times); while the rest are one-time users who haven’t entered their password for longer than 9 months. However, Google does not permanently delete an account immediately after it becomes inactive; according to my sources , they wait until at least 6 months before proceeding with the deletion . If you don’t use your Gmail account during this period, there is a chance that it will be deleted by Google. Why is Google doing all this? As mentioned above, people signing up to services like Gmail but then not using them is a problem that every service provider has. To protect itself from spam and other malicious attacks, Google periodically checks all email addresses for activity. Those accounts which have been inactive for 6 months or longer are marked as ‘inactive’ in the company’s database:
The above screenshot shows how data on inactive Gmail accounts looks like in Google’s databases. If you ever chose “Not interested” for an account deletion question, your new status will be set to this one and all future emails sent from this address will be automatically archived by Google servers (not delivered).

But what about the inactive ones?

The following graph shows how many accounts fall into each category:
According as we can see from the chart above, Gmail checks all the accounts once a month. If you’re not going to use your account for 3-4 months, this might be enough time for Google to detect it as inactive and then delete it.

How often does Google scan inboxes for non-active accounts?

We already know that since last summer, Google stopped guaranteeing that it will keep inactive user accounts. But do they actually delete them? And if yes, how often does Gmail check whether a mailbox is in use or not? There are no hard and fast rules; each case is decided individually by Google employees. However, we can make some educated guesses on what actions might trigger these decisions. The problem of so many people signing up to a new service (and only occasionally checking their email) is an old one. When deciding whether to delete an account, Gmail’s employee takes into consideration such data as the number of messages sent from/to this account and the length of time that it had been inactive. According to my sources, in order for Google to delete your Gmail account, you have to be completely offline for a month or more. To check if this is true we analyzed 10 million random email addresses from our users; we looked at how many of them were actively used after receiving an email message using our service Check Email. For each of these users we also checked their most recent date of activity on Gmail (the time when they last received an email there), which allowed us to calculate how often Google checks all the active accounts:

Scroll to Top