Google updates inactive accounts policy with a new exception

Martin Brinkmann
May 19, 2023

Google has updated its policy regarding inactive Google accounts. The company announced a new inactive accounts policy earlier this month. Google accounts considered inactive may be deleted after two years of inactivity according to the new policy.

Google implemented several safeguards into the policy and plans to inform the users of the inactive accounts several times before pushing the delete button.

Google explained back then how it defined inactivity and listed activities that would reset the inactive counter for Google accounts. These activities included reading or sending email, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, downloading Android apps or using Google Search. Most of these activities require that users are signed into a Google account.

The original announcement was updated today with an addendum. Google added that accounts with YouTube videos would not be deleted, even if they are inactive for at least 2 years.

Google says: "If you have an existing subscription set up through your Google Account, for example to Google One, a news publication or an app, we also consider this account activity and your account will not be impacted. Additionally, we do not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time."

At this time indicates that Google may have change the policy, but it will certainly announce the change in advance.

The YouTube video exemption is not the only one. Google lists several other on a support website:

  • The Google account was used to make a purchase of a "google product, app, service or subscription that is current or ongoing".
  • The Google account has a monetary balance from a gift card.
  • The Google account owns a game or application with "active subscriptions or active financial transactions associated with them".
  • The account manages the account of a minor using Family Link.
  • The account was used to purchase a digital item.

All of these exceptions prevent the deletion of the Google account because of inactivity.

Google customers have a few options at their disposal to make sure that their account is never flagged as inactive. Publishing a video on YouTube looks like one of the better options, especially since there do not seem to be any requirements in place. A short video of your favorite tree, cat, dog or plant is all that is needed to keep an account protected from deletion.

Now You: do you have a Google account and use it?

Google updates inactive accounts policy with a new exception
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Google updates inactive accounts policy with a new exception
Google has updated its policy regarding inactive Google accounts with information regarding accounts with YouTube videos.
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  1. Someone said on May 20, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    They want to delete YT past history-thats why they do that. In my case-I used to be an youtuber about music (hard rock & metal), and I retired very quicly, on 2.5 years about after I started (I didnt wanted to go further).
    If the very old channels did not existed, YT wouldnt have been the place that is this years.

  2. Hitomi said on May 19, 2023 at 11:11 am

    >Additionally, we do not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.

    If signing in once every two years is too hard these videos should be just deleted. I’d be more interested who gets the ad payout on an “inactive” && undeleted account with Youtube videos. Do they cash out to the relatives or keep that hard earned ad revenue? Who knows, but I have a hunch.

    Dead youtubers with still active videos are just too valuable.. you guys tell me.

    1. TelV said on May 19, 2023 at 4:10 pm

      Your comment about dead youtubers with active videos being too valuable to delete crossed my mind as well. In fact, I posted a comment on a channel called Bangkok112 last night to warn people that the channel and everything it contains might be removed come December this year.

      Bangkok112 was very active up until late 2020 when all activity suddenly ceased. Rumour has it that he died in a car crash in England. Others have said he caught Covid-19 and succumbed to that. I don’t know what the real story is, but his videos were very informative about the Thailand nightlife scene and it would be a crying shame if Google deleted them all.

      Here’s the link to his channel anyway:

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