Final warning: it’s your last chance to save your old Gmail account from deletion
Do you have an old Gmail account that you set up a while ago but forgot? It might be worth tracking it down and logging in, because Google will start deleting inactive Gmail accounts starting tomorrow, December 1.
Googling first announced that it was changing its “inactive account policy” in May, stating that “if a Google Account has not been used or logged in for at least two years, we may delete the account and its contents.”
While that may not sound too concerning to most Gmail users, the content Google will remove includes Emails, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Google Photos. So if you’ve previously created an account associated with some old photos that you haven’t backed up, it might be worth finding the account and logging in.
Logging into the Gmail account or using Google Drive should be enough to get it out of the way of Google’s digital flamethrower. And Google says it won’t start deleting accounts until December 1, instead of hitting a single kill switch for all two-year-old accounts. But you must “specifically sign in to Google Photos” to prevent snaps from being deleted in that service.
Google says it sent multiple notifications to both the account email address and a recovery email address (if you provided one) in the months leading up to deletion day. So the only real danger is that the Gmail account is linked to an old email address that you do not use regularly.
The reason for scrapping old Gmail accounts is apparently security, with Google claiming that older accounts are “more likely to be compromised” because they rely on old or reused passwords. That certainly sounds fair enough, although Google’s bigger priority right now may be the Google Drive issues that seem to be causing some users to lose months of data.
Time for a takeaway
This wave of Gmail account deletions and Google’s recent Drive issues have highlighted the importance of backing up your data. If you’re not sure how to do this, read our guide on how to prevent your Gmail files from being deleted with Google Takeout.
While the classic 3-2-1 backup strategy is still sensible to follow, the rise of ransomware attacks and the fact that cloud storage providers – even those as big as Google – are not foolproof means that even those historical ‘gold standard” is being reconsidered, in favor of 3-2-2 or even 3-2-3 backup strategies.
As these names suggest, instead of simply backing up two different types of local storage and a cloud service, some companies also choose two different types of cloud storage providers (that are geographically separated) to protect themselves from data center failures.
Still, the classic 3-2-1 system for individuals remains superior to simply relying on a single cloud backup. And if your data backup mainly revolves around backing up photos and videos, we also recommend checking out our guide to creating the ultimate photo backup for Adobe Lightroom or Google Photos.