How to Save Your Google Account from Being Permanently Deleted This Friday

As Google's December 1st deadline fast approaches, here's a step-by-step guide to stop your data from being wiped forever.

Google is conducting a massive cull of inactive accounts on December 1st, giving users three days to act if they want to prevent their historical data from being deleted forever.

The purge, which extends to Gmail, Docs, Drive, Photos, Calendar, and YouTube accounts, aims to prevent data from being phished by bad actors, but risks countless memories being lost by users who fail to act fast enough.

If you want to protect your Google data ahead of the looming deadline and safeguard your data against future closures, we show you how this can be done.

Google is Deleting Inactive Accounts From December 1st

On Friday, Google will be terminating all Google Accounts that have been inactive for two years, according to a March update to their inactive account policy.

The cybersecurity measure aims to lower instances of cyberattacks, as forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that are more likely to be breached, Google explained in a company blog post.

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This policy concerns the data of inactive personal Google accounts, including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar),Google Photos, and YouTube. Google Business and School accounts will not be affected.

How to Prevent Your Google Account From Being Deleted

Fortunately, saving your old account from being wiped from existence is very straightforward – as long as you remember your old password.

All you need to do is sign into your account. This will deem your account as ‘active’ and therefore will prevent it from being deleted. Then, sign-in to your account at least once every two years to save it from being discarded in the future.

In the likely case that you’ve forgotten your password, follow Google’s account recovery steps to verify your identity. Then, if successful, reset your password to something easier to remember and store it in a password manager.

According to Google’s blog post, after you’ve signed in there are a number of ways to display activity on your account, including:

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

All existing subscriptions set up through your Google Account count as account activity too, so if you’ve subscribed to a service your account will be protected from Google’s pending actions.

If you’re ready to let your account go, but you want to protect sensitive or sentimental information from future wipes, we’d also recommend backing your Google data up. We break down how this can be done next.

How to Back Up Your Google Data

To back your Google account data up, simply visit this Google Site for a blow by blow on how to download and archive account data. You’ll be able to select which format your data will be archived in, and even learn about what happens to your detected account information.

After you’ve clued yourself up, use the company’s Google Takeout service to save your data. The tool gives you agency over which account data you protect, be it from email, photo or OneDrive accounts, and it also lets you chose it’s export destination.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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