A little over two months ago, Google announced that it planned to delete all accounts that hadn’t been used in two years (with some exceptions, such as accounts that have YouTube videos). Well, just today, I received an email from Google warning me that accounts that have not been accessed for two years will be eligible for deletion starting December 1, 2023.
I’ve been wandering around Google apps for some time and it occurred to me that could I may have unused Google accounts that I haven’t used for years, and if I didn’t check them, they might have content I’d like to save. I knew he had three active Google accounts and suspected he had at least one other that he hadn’t visited in a while, but he wasn’t quite sure if there were others.
Apparently, there is at least one way to try and find out: by using Google’s “find your email” page. This looks for any Google Accounts that are associated with an email address or phone number that you’ve entered as a “recovery” account, one that can be used to prove your identity in case you lose the password for another Google Account.
And sure enough, I was offered a list of four accounts, three of which were my active accounts, but one of which had completely forgotten It was originally created as a test account for a job I had about six or seven years ago and hadn’t been used since.
So what if you’re suddenly presented with an old Google account and have no idea what the password was? This is what happened in my case:
It turned out that there was nothing of value in that account, but I was happy to check it out just in case before Google deleted it.
Two more things to keep in mind. First, it’s a good idea to use the “find your email” page to check any and all active email addresses or phone numbers you’ve used as recovery references. You can also search for other apps you’ve used to reference other Gmail accounts. For example, just for the fun of it, I went through my password manager and found another Google account that wasn’t listed with the others because the phone number it was associated with was one I no longer used. Since I still had the password, it wasn’t hard to go in and change the recovery phone number so it was up to date.
Second, this is a good reason not to stop adding a recovery phone number. and email address to each of your Google accounts. You never know when they might come in handy. You can find instructions on how to do it. here.