How to delete your Yahoo account

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 7, 2016

A Reuters report suggests that Internet company Yahoo has been working with U.S. intelligence to search all customer emails.

According to the report, Yahoo created a software that would scan all emails automatically at the request of U.S. intelligence even before they arrived in the user's inbox.

Reuters mentions that it received the information from several Yahoo employees.

Yahoo did receive a "classified U.S. government demand" according to Reuters which was one of the broadest if not the broadest in scope up to that day considering that it involved the scanning of hundreds of million of email accounts.

The demand stands in stark contrast to previous demands where companies were asked to scan a small number of accounts or hand over stored messages of an account.

No one knows how much data was made available to the -- unnamed -- U.S. intelligence service, and whether other email providers were approached as well.

How to delete your Yahoo account

yahoo delete account

While the details on the cooperation between Yahoo and U.S. intelligence are scarce, Yahoo customers may want to consider deleting their Yahoo account because of that privacy violation and the resulting lack of trust in the company.

There is at least one step to the process, but if you want to keep your email there is two.

Backing up all Yahoo emails

yahoo import gmail

First thing you may want to do is back up all old Yahoo emails. If you don't need those anymore you may skip the step, but usually you may want to keep access.

The best way to back up all Yahoo mails depends on your migration plan. Some providers, Gmail or Outlook for instance, offer options to import emails from other providers such as Yahoo directly.

On Gmail, you would open the settings, switch to "accounts and import" and click on the "import mail and contacts" link on that page. You need to supply your Yahoo account credentials to start the import, but everything else is handled by Google from that point on.

Mail backup software like Mailstore Home, free for personal use, offers another option that is not restricted to individual providers.

You do need to enable pop access on Yahoo first though before you can start using the software. Once that is out of the way, it is simply a matter of performing the following steps in the program:

  1. Select Archive e-mail in the application.
  2. Enter your email account address and click start afterwards.
  3. You are asked to authenticate the account by providing your password.

Mailstore Home backs up all emails to the local system. You may use the program to search the emails, or to export them to another service, for instance an email client that you run on the local system.

Deleting the account

yahoo delete account

You may want to consider keeping the account alive for some time after migrating the emails to another provider or backing them up. It usually takes some time to update emails at services that you use on the Internet, privately or for work.

Keeping the account activated during that time ensures that you don't miss out on any of those.

Once you are certain that this is no longer necessary, you may visit the Yahoo account deletion page.

You are asked to sign in to the account, and asked to enter the account password and a captcha on the page afterwards.

Click on the "terminate this account" button to permanently delete the Yahoo account and be done with it once and for all.

Now You: What's your primary email provider?

How to delete your Yahoo account
Article Name
How to delete your Yahoo account
Find out how to delete your Yahoo account and migrate emails to another email provider or a local backup solution before you do so.
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  1. mma173 said on October 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Few years ago, I remember Yahoo being the only one disagreeing to the regulations set by US NSA. Google and Microsoft were in agreement. At that time, Google even went ahead and published a video explaining the process on how they handle the requests, which I don’t believe.

    Fast forward, Yahoo fell down and a scandal about there services came out. I Think THEY ARE PAID for not obeying to the government.

    Read this:
    Yahoo $250,000 daily fine over NSA data refusal was set to double ‘every week’

  2. Tom Hawack said on October 8, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    FYI, Yahoo denies existence of a surveillance tools, as reported by Security Affairs :

    I don’t comment since I have no Yahoo account.

  3. REDACTED said on October 7, 2016 at 11:19 pm


    German BND also uses XKEYSCORE for data collection.

    In 2014 talked about a large building in Cornwall, built at the price of 5.3 million pounds. It is the starting point of:

    FLAG Atlantic 1

    A cable to America, listed here:

    You can read the GERONTIC word there above.

    The same word is here:

    It is the codeword for SIGnal INTellgence (Information Gathering, Communication Monitoring…)

    I won’t annoy anyone BUT there are installations capable of watching a big deal of internet traffic. Do really they monitor everyone 24 hours a day and collect my posts on ghacks? No, because they use metadata for sorting the good signals from the background noise. Keywords that change for single monitoring operations are enabled at will.

    With some “grain of salt” we saw the rise-up of VPN… and the hype of the Cloud before. What “potentially could” they have gathered from skydrive and hidemyass?

    …and TOR? TOR is the real playfield where the cat hunts the few mouses. The mainstream internet sites and protocols see their winning methods applied against the majority of people.

    On my TCPView, akamaitech and amazonaws are present on 90% of browsed pages (I haven’t yet cut them off as I did with google and facebook).

    Wonder if they are in league with others in the business? Do I really have to respond here?


  4. ams said on October 7, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I was really surprised to read here availability of “enable pop access on Yahoo”. Thanks, Martin

    Long ago (eek! more than a decade ago) I was an active participant in several YahooGroups. No patience to sit and page-next next next through message titles listed 10 per page at the yahoo site, I setup redirect via POP3 and used a local mailreader (PegasusMail, FWIW). When Yahoo announced POP3 would only be available to “premium” yahoo members (US$4.99/mo), I bailed from subscribing/participating in the Groups discussions.

    No, I don’t intend to delete my accounts at reading this news. They’ve solely been used for “verification” when whatever random sites (forum sites, usually) have demanded such during registration. However, at reading that Verizon or somesuch was BUYING Yahoo, I did delete most of the existing accumulated emails. Yeah, like they don’t keep backup copies? Riiiiight. Point is this: the prospect of BigData mining the content of those emails and profiling me is more disturbing than the prospect of NSA (or whichever gov’t agency) monitoring and/or profiling me.

    BTW, for me, the YahooMail interface has been “broken” under use with firefox since way back around v35 ~~ pageload stalls, then after 60sec or so timeout, a “Basic mail” link becomes visible. That (basic UI) does display mostly correctly but some of the js interactions seem broken. Because I seldom visit, when I discovered this quirk I just shrugged and chalked it up to presence of my adblocking browser extensions. Later, after hearing complaints from various kin and acquaintenances, I tested using a bone stock firefox (no extensions, no changed-from-default prefs) and observed identical “broken-ness”. Can we deduce from this that so few firefox+yahooMail users exist that Yahoo doesn’t care to accommodate them?

  5. Rotten Scoundrel said on October 7, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    @Moebius Street and others

    You need to read my post above paying particular attention to items marked “1:” and “2:”. No one can refuse a Court Order. Well, I guess they can but it will be into the slammer right then and there without a trial. The only way around the Court Order is to close down the business as the Order is generally applicable to that business, but even then, the Order can “select” owners and operators by name. Read about Lavabit and their Court Order.

    We are assimilated! LOL

  6. Moebius Street said on October 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    I deleted my Yahoo! account as a result of this, including my Flickr galleries. I moved from that free service to paying for 500px.

    I hear many people saying “I only use my Yahoo! account for catching spam anyway, so why bother?”. The point isn’t for your own email. It’s to send a message to the rest of the industry. If they can see that Yahoo’s usage dropped off after this news, while revenues of others (like 500px in my case) goes up, then the other companies can see that doing the right thing for us can be profitable, but taking the easy path and acquiescing to governmental demands will cost them revenue in the long run.

  7. RG said on October 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    What Rotten Scoundrel said at the beginning of his comment is important about email deletions, the name should never become available again. I didn’t click the account deletion link in the article to check. If it may become available later then I rather keep it but not use it.

  8. Rotten Scoundrel said on October 7, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Martin, do not be to hasty deleting your Yahoo accounts. Please know that Yahoo recycles email account names after a period, six months I think. So, your old account address could be in use by someone else in six months. Just let it lay semi-dormant and send a junk email every three months to prevent Yahoo from declaring it abandoned and re-use the address.

    Now on to the American system.
    The three-letter Agencies can get a court order to make companies do this shit.
    Then the three-letter Agencies can get a court order to stop companies telling anyone they have been told to do this shit.

    To stop the Government snooping on ANY email systems requires a change in the Government mandates to the three-letter agencies. Given the volatile nature of our modern world, that ain’t ever going to happen so get used to snooping. People living in all other countries beside the US, welcome to our nightmare as your Government will be/is/has been doing it too.

    Bottom Line: Don’t pass sensitive stuff in emails or phone calls. Cracking encryption is trivial these days with enough computing power. The kind of computing power that Governments have in bucket loads. Why did the UK recently order two (**TWO**) new Super Cray computers? Um, weather forecasting they said. Yeah right. LOL

  9. meepmeep said on October 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Email? When I compose an email, I assume it will probably be scanned for certain words. What is worse in my mind
    is that the authorities in any country can activate your phone microphone, whether land line or mobile, as well as
    computer mikes and cameras. I’m not too worried about the police doing this, but if they can do it, who else might be
    listening in, and (shudder) watching? Hello George Orwell.

  10. buck said on October 7, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    pHROZEN gHOST and Henk… of course you can expect privacy when encryption is involved. If all the data associated with your account is encrypted then privacy is very viable. Open source transparency is of course vital to ensure no back doors.

    As I mentioned above both Tutanota and ProtonMail provide this.

  11. Henk van Setten said on October 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    With email, just like with everything else, you can never expect to have optimum privacy and a free ride at the same time. When you register your email accounts with providers like Yahoo, Google or Microsoft you know in advance that you will always pay in some way for the “free” ride with your personal data.

    This is why, just for my email (I don’t run a website) I registered a domain to my own name ( with my own private and public “” email addresses all hosted at my own personal server space, run by Transip (a reliable Dutch web hosting firm).

    For little more than ten cents per day (€ 3.60 per month) this email setup buys me maximum control, flexibility, privacy and peace of mind.

    If you don’t want to setup something like this, then admit the truth: in that case, apparently you do care more about saving a few bucks than about your privacy ;-)

  12. pHROZEN gHOST said on October 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    ANY service provider, be it mail, internet or another business can do whatever they want with your data. They can tell you it is secure. But, you have no control over this unless you are there to monitor it 24/7.

    If you are really paranoid, you should disconnect from the Internet, wrap yourself, head to toe, in several layers of tin foil,
    and don’t ever leave your home.

    1. Parker Lewis said on October 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Plus you’re wrong. End-to-end encryption on ProtonMail for instance, involves that your mail is encrypted on your device and only decrypted on your correspondent’s device. You can verify that easily.

      The encryption and decryption code is also widely tested and validated, and open source.

      Which means it is secure enough to thwart mass surveillance.

    2. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      If I don’t go out in town naked it’s not because I’d be paranoid. Privacy, intimacy have the importance we grant them which is always less than the importance Big Data grants them. A girl told me once (we were both young then) that what would bother her moving around in a nudist camp wouldn’t be so much being nude and seen nude by other nudes but being observed by people outside the camp equipped with binoculars if not with telescopes. Big Data is equipped with big, very big, very very very big telescopes.

  13. Al said on October 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Funny, my yahoo account doesn’t have the enable pop3 option ANYWHERE. Tried on chrome, FF and IE.
    What the heck, don’t really need those emails back upped anyway….

  14. buck said on October 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Oh, both are open source too,

  15. buck said on October 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I use Tutanota and ProtonMail, both privacy first fully encrypted mail providers based in Switzerland. All storage is encrypted, ProtonMail requires a separate data encryption password, and end to end mail encryption is provided by both providers. An email recipient receives an email with a password protected link to your message. Your message never leaves the server and cannot be data mined as it is encrypted.

    Of course you can send emails normally from their servers too, but I try and use end to end encryption as much as possible.

    Why anybody would use Google/Yahoo/Microsoft for email these days is beyond me. Every scrap of personal info in these accounts are data mined, sent straight to NSA et al, and is then sold into Big Data.

  16. Dan82 said on October 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I think it’s a question of what you use a(ny) free-mail account for. Signing up for this forum, that newsletter or any number of unimportant websites with an all but anonymous account, what do I care if that traffic, consisting largely of automated mails, is being listened to by an intelligence service? For example, I’m using a Yahoo mail address on GHacks and I don’t plan to stop that or delete my Yahoo account because of this.

    Will the NSA or some other government organization try to create a personality profile from the content of those mails? Probably, but will it ever matter? Unlikely. I am rather privacy conscious, but I am also a realist and see no way to stop any government, much less a foreign one, from taking any steps they view as necessary to protect their country. I am sad to say that this is clearly not an issue that can be solved in the voting booth. If I wanted the other kind of privacy, then I’d need to either pay for a secure mail provider or host it myself and hope no hacker was either interested or smarter than me. Even professionals can’t give a guarantee on that, so what chance do I as a private person have of safely and securely operating my own mail server?

    What I am much more concerned with in my daily life are commercial entities that view personal data as a valuable resource. They are much more likely to collect this data of mine and use it for disingenuous purposes, like selling it to other companies I would never voluntarily enter a relationship with. It is really surprising how many people are up in arms about government surveillance but how few of them care or are even conscious of the companies that profit from the data they gather from you. I don’t care when that happens with an anonymous account of mine, but I try my best to stop them from connecting it to my real identity. That’s why I use more than one free-mail account in my daily travel through the ‘net, why I hardly ever use my full name in these kind of public venues and why I use browser extensions that increase my privacy, such as uBlock and CanvasBlocker or why I have separate browser profiles for certain websites that use my real data.

  17. Klaas Vaak said on October 7, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    @ Dave: don’t see any “an ambiguous absolute morality vibe” to Martin’s statement. Yes, every company forces you to agree to their T&Cs, knowing full well that 99.9% of the people will just agree without reading them. Sop strictly speaking the email provider is in his right, but from a point of view “reasonability” it is not. It is just like the “small writing” in any contract, which is often composed in garbled language, very small print that practically no one will read. Those contracts don’t hold up in a court of law anymore when it concerns just a “regular” consumer.
    In fact, the like of Yahoo, Google & the others have actually taken the moral low ground with the T&C regulations. So Martin is not saying anything wrong by advising ditching Yahoo & the other US providers for better ones.

  18. tema said on October 7, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Oh come on! I bet Google do exact the same thing. but it’s not in public yet. It’s just paranoia.
    (sorry for some mistakes, i don’t speak english and i’m not from yahoo :)

    1. Parker Lewis said on October 7, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Paranoia is “baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others”. ( )

      But is opposing mass surveillance really an issue about motives, or power and thus long term freedom ?

    2. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Who will ever know? But even if I am not a Google aficionado I tend to believe that the company focuses as much on its independence from state regulators as it does on business. I may be wrong. The problem with business on the Web is that the data it handles may fall into hands even if not offered deliberately.

  19. Rott Weiller said on October 7, 2016 at 11:54 am
  20. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

    My primary email provider is I have my ISP’s email as well but seldom used. Disposable Email is provided by with a paid account (free available) which I use systematically. Posteo and Trashmail are both German companies, a coincidence I realized after as my aim is to choose what I consider the best for me. I’ve had Trashmail’s boss on the phone, he speaks French fluently and besides this invaluable quality he happens to love Versailles : a most civilized person, no doubt :)

    I have at one time considered opening a Yahoo Mail account but the simple creation of the account appeared to be impossible with my security&privacy system configuration.

    At this time if I have to consider the best email provider I’d say ProtonMail reserved to ProtonMail correspondents and no email forwarding (even IMAP) to a local email client : this is asked by many ProtonMail users but should the service be made available as the company plans, I wouldn’t use it as well as I would not use ProtonMail to contact non-ProtonMail accounts. This way all email, encrypted moves from ProtonMail to ProtonMail, so to say.

    1. Parker Lewis said on October 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      You can apparently send an end-to-end encrypted email from ProtonMail to Gmail or Yahoo as a link. The person will receive a mail with a link to ProtonMail website. The page is encrypted and a passphrase is needed for decryption. After some time you can set it to auto-destruct.

      I never tried it, it’s just something I read. But yeah, end-to-end encryption otherwise requires that both sending and receiving email providers support it.

      For those who don’t know, end-to-end encryption means that only you and your correspondent can read the message, not even your mail provider can. It solves the problem outlined in this article.

      1. buck said on October 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        Tutanota is another privacy first email provider, also provides encrypted mail storage and end to end email encryption where your emails never leave their servers.

        I use both and they are terrific, both functionally and privacy wise.

        They are also opensource, which is vital these days as other closed source providers of similar services have used back doors to “encrypted” data for law enforcement.

      2. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

        You are right, Parker. I omitted mentioning this as I consider this way as proceeding as exceptional compared to a regular email exchange. But indeed sending an end-to-end encrypted email from ProtonMail as a link with passphrase can come in handy. The whole point is to prevent the email from jumping from one cloud to another, having it written and read always on the same server. That’s how I see it with the plain logic of a non-techie …

  21. Rott Weiller said on October 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

    since 2011 from some sources ALL the internet data is intercepted and recorded on internet nodes so you cant bypass them no matter what you do. indeed the data is encrypted BUT in 5-10 years the current encryption will be a piece of cake so that`s why it is saved for later use :)

    on yahoo matter – i really think somebody wants it dropped to dust, just look at their last move on messenger – i moved to Ymess like 10 years ago switching from ICQ ( which is now owned by some russian entity btw), and got a decent (weaker than ICQ for sure) option to talk/message with other people. at first you had an option to save archive local, in the next version for “users own good” the archive was only on web to be “easily searched” which was so weak option because the search was weak and you had to scroll a lot, and like 1 month ago they closed all LEGACY servers so now you are limited to their “new and improved” version which is a .net browser that opens their in a custom program and offers no voice, no contacts list, nothing … if you look at their uservoice 99.9% of people are asking for (any) previous version but they insist the new one is good. do you really think any sane owner of yahoo would do this while massive amount of people tell that new version is anything but junk? ( check the closed opinion… all of them say the same thing :( )

    yahoo is put on closing by somebody, and each new stuff that appears points in the same direction

    i stopped using it and moved to …Skype which i kind of dislike because of MS/interface but at this moment is almost the only solution

    1. justakiwi said on October 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      about yahoo messenger . have you tried

  22. satuim said on October 7, 2016 at 11:30 am

    You can use Thunderbird to extract emails. Just open it up and select all emails (CTRL+A) then drag the selection to a new folder

  23. Parker Lewis said on October 7, 2016 at 10:57 am

    “We’ve never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘No way’,” a spokesman for Google said in a statement.

    A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement, “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.” The company declined to comment on whether it had received such a request.

    And what, Microsoft and Google, have you been doing for the past ten years ? That’s right, scanning all emails for your own sake rather than the US federal government’s. You have grown too big to be a lesser evil.

    I’ll use ProtonMail, I guess, but I’m yet to do the transition.

    1. Jason said on October 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      This is exactly what I was thinking. I don’t understand the logic of migrate from Yahoo to Gmail or Outlook as a solution to the Yahoo spying problem. All the US email companies are bound by the same extreme US security laws. Google is arguably the worst of the bunch because of the deep connections between several senior executives and the US State Department.

      Protonmail is one of the only “true” alternatives at the moment, and I’m actively making the transition / convincing friends and family to open accounts. Even this may prove unreliable one day, but for the time being it provides an easy way to get infinitely better security than what is available from the big US companies.

  24. Earl said on October 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

    You think any U.S. provider hasn’t done, isn’t doing, or won’t be doing the same? Email has never been secured unless you did it yourself, regardless of the provider. They’re just electronic post cards. There isn’t a govt. on the planet that won’t happily violate anyone’s basic human rights whenever it feels it’s justified in doing so. You can’t blame Yahoo for doing what a govt. compels it to do.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

      Even if that is true — that Yahoo could not do anything about it — that does not mean that you should keep your account there knowing that they cooperated willfully with US gov. There are plenty of non-US based alternatives out there.

      1. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

        @Dave, when you write “Yahoo users agreed that Yahoo could share their data with the government”, I read at :

        […] You understand that through your use of the Yahoo Services you consent to the collection and use (as set forth in the applicable privacy policy []) of this information, including the transfer of this information to the United States and/or other countries for storage, processing and use by Yahoo and its affiliates.

        The term “processing” means it all, perhaps, but I’ve read nowhere, be it in the TOS or in the Privacy Policy, any explicit mention of sharing data with the government.

        Anyway if there is such a tsunami against this users’ data disclosure I assume legal matters have been taken into consideration before.

        We should always read the TOS and privacy policies, which is often neglected. The wording is always that of legal considerations and if the gross may be easily understood, as always the terminology holds essential considerations which would require more than a dictionary’s definition to be fully controlled. Personally as soon as I read “collection and use” of data I refuse provided I have no corollary need or obligation.

      2. Dave said on October 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        @Tom (and Martin)

        But Yahoo users agreed that Yahoo could share their data with the government. If they don’t really agree to the terms, they shouldn’t be saying that they do. I don’t think there’s a story here except “Yahoo did what they said they might do”

      3. Tom Hawack said on October 7, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        @Dave, I have to disagree with you.

        First, not sure “the government” can intercept the data in all cases. If there is presently brain storming in the encryption community it is well because precisely big ears happen to be uncomfortable with some encryption protocols and do all they can not only to crack what is known but to influence encryption search & develoment as well.

        Secondly, should data be intercepted is not a reason to comply. Complying is loosing a war when opposing is at worst loosing a battle.

        I agree totally with the article’s content and if it includes a general non-explicit philosophy regarding privacy then the one I believe to understand corresponds to mine.

      4. Dave said on October 7, 2016 at 10:31 am

        I disagree with your assertion here Martin. There’s an ambiguous absolute morality vibe to the statement.

        As Earl says, the government can easily intercept the data anyway. Not only that, but I expect that users agreed to this in the T&Cs. If users think the T&Cs are just there for fun, they need to think again.

        Clicking “I agree” is a big deal and it’s important that there is a way to prove whether or not I clicked I agree. For example, how can I prove I uninstalled Whatsapp without agreeing to the new terms? Facebook could say I agreed first. This stuff is extremely important.

  25. Nebulus said on October 7, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I have email accounts on multiple email providers, and I also have an Yahoo! account. It is almost never used and so I see no reason to delete it.

  26. Chris said on October 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

    And Yahoo’s stock went up on this news. Tells you something…

    1. Rick said on October 10, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      I want to delet yahoo now

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