From December 1, Google will delete old Gmail accounts as well as the emails, photos and documents they contained. Here’s what to do.

Attention. If you have emails or photos on Google Photos or documents on Google Drive associated with an old Gmail account, you need to act. Indeed, Google will delete your Gmail account if you do not log in before December 1, 2023. Why? Because Google has changed its policy regarding “inactive accounts”. An inactive Google account is one that hasn’t been used for two years. And now, Google reserves the right to delete it, purely and simply. And with it all the data (emails, photos, documents) that you had stored there.

Your main account, the one you use regularly, is probably not affected because it is not considered inactive. But perhaps you have, for example, photos stored in an old Google Photos that you haven’t yet taken the time to manage. Or maybe a second email address that you rarely use. Or an account where you had stored copies of identity documents in case of emergency.

Google says the best way to keep your account active is to log in at least once every 24 months. Indeed, if you have logged in to your Google account or one of its services in the last two years, your account will not be deleted.

The other way to prevent an account from being deleted, whether you logged in or not, is to have a subscription associated with that account. The same applies if the account was used to upload videos to YouTube. Ruth Kricheli, a product manager at Google, previously said Google would start by deleting accounts that were created and then never used.

In the months prior to deletion, emails will be sent to the primary account address as well as the email address on file for recovery. A good precautionary measure is therefore to modify your Gmail accounts to put your main email address as the recovery address. This will ensure you receive a message or alert before your account is deleted.

Finally, last important detail, once an account has been deleted, it will no longer be possible to reopen another with the same identifier. If you have an email address that you value, it is therefore even more important to ensure that the account is not deleted.