About your Google Account activity in some products

On June 1, 2021, updated product policies go into effect for:

These policies affect Google products where you may be inactive. June 1, 2023 is the earliest these policies will be enforced.

What happens when you're inactive

When you have been inactive in Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard or Sites files) or Google Photos for 2 years, all of your content may be removed from that product. But before that happens, we will:

  • Give you notice using email and notifications within the Google products. We will contact you at least three months before content is eligible for deletion. 
  • Give you the opportunity to avoid deletion (by becoming active in the product)
  • Give you the opportunity to download your content from our services. Learn more about how to download your Google data.

If you're a Google One member with no outstanding payment or quota issues, you are considered active.

Important: As an example, if you're inactive for 2 years in Photos, but still active in Drive and Gmail, only your Google Photos content will be deleted. Content in Gmail and Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) will not be deleted if you are active in those products. 

How to stay active in these products

The simplest way to keep your data active is to periodically visit Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive (and/or collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard and Sites) on the web or through a Google app. Make sure you’re signed in and connected to the internet.

Please note that you may have multiple accounts set up on your device. Activity is considered by account, not by device. Make sure you’re using the services for all accounts on which you wish to remain active.

Examples of activity

Gmail

  • Signed in and online activity in the Gmail Android, iOS or Web app. For example, using the app to:
    • View your inbox
    • Open an email 
    • Send an email  
    • Archive, delete, label, mark as read, star, or any other email actions
    • Perform background syncs of your inbox performed by the GMail Android and iOS app
  • Access email via API or a third-party mail client which:
    • Loads emails
    • Sends an email
    • Archives, deletes, labels, marks as read, stars, or performs any other email actions.
  • Turn on email forwarding or keep it running 

Google Drive (including collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard and Sites)

  • Any authenticated usage. This includes:
    • Loading Drive on Android, iOS or web 
    • Using an add-on or a third-party application with Drive
    • Syncing content from a user device with any sync client like Drive File Stream or Backup and Sync
    • Using Drive from another app (to attach Drive files to emails, preview files in Drive, etc.)
    • Completing any activity on a file stored in Drive, such as creating, editing, viewing, sharing or commenting
    • Using any collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard and Sites

Google Photos

  • Signed in and online activity in the Photos Android, iOS or Web app. For example, using the app to:
    • View your backed up gallery
    • Share a photo or video
    • Create an album or photo book
  • Back up a photo or video

Frequently asked questions

Do these policies apply to G Suite/Workspace accounts as well as consumer accounts?
No, these policies do not apply to G Suite or Workspace accounts.
Are you going to tell me before my data is deleted? 
If your account is subject to this policy change, we’ll give you ample notice (at least three months) before your content may be deleted. We’ll attempt to reach you via your email address and notifications. Learn more about managing email addresses for your Google account.
I don’t know if I can stay active once every 2 years. What should I do?

We understand that some life events can keep you away from your phone or computer for an extended period of time. That’s why we set a 2-year period before you’re considered inactive. 

For another way to manage your data should you become inactive, consider using the Inactive Account Manager. Besides sending you reminders about the account, this tool allows you to manage what happens to your account when you can no longer use it. You can also set up a trusted contact to download your data if you stop using your account, even before it would be eligible for deletion. 

Additionally, you can proactively download your data to back it up at any time.

How do I preserve content from a loved one if they pass away?

We recognize that many people pass away without leaving clear instructions about how to manage their online accounts. Google can work with immediate family members and representatives (in certain circumstances) to provide content from a deceased user's account. Learn more about our process for requesting a deceased user’s data

To let us know in advance what to do with your data in the event of death or prolonged inactivity, learn more about Inactive Account Manager.  

  • Note: Inactive Account Manager settings don’t override our inactive and over quota policies.
I have an account that I think is inactive and I forgot the password - how do I sign in?
If you can’t remember your password for an account you infrequently use, to verify your identity and reset your password, visit Google Account Recovery. For more help to sign in successfully, refer to Account recovery tips.
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