According to its new inactive account policy, Google will delete accounts that haven’t been used for two years. All of the content associated with these accounts, including emails, documents, Drive storage, and Photos storage, will also disappear. The new policy takes effect on January 1st of 2024.
Previously, Google only deleted the files associated with inactive accounts (and accounts that sat beyond their storage limit for two years). Today’s new policy takes things a step further, as inactive accounts will be completely deleted and unrecoverable.
But Google wants to take a “phased approach,” so it will start with “accounts that were created and never used again” before deleting accounts that may have simply been forgotten or neglected. The company will also email an account (and its recovery address, if one is provided) multiple times before deletion occurs. (Google also notes that it will limit the amount of time it retains your personal information. Presumably, it uses this information for advertising or identification purposes.)
And, as 9to5Google notes, accounts that have uploaded YouTube videos are currently exempt from this rule. Presumably, this is to avoid losing any legacy content that may be popular, historically relevant, or uploaded by a person that has passed away.
Organizational accounts, such as those made for businesses or schools, are also safe. That said, organizations are supposed to have a special organizational account—if you’re using a personal account for work, Google will think it’s a personal account!
To keep your account “active,” Google suggests that you periodically log in and interact with services like Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Photos, and so on. You should also set a recovery email for any accounts that you care about (Google will pester you about this during login). Note that accounts tied to an Android phone are considered active, as are those that maintain a Google One subscription.
Source: Google via 9to5Google