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Security & privacy

Do this now before your Gmail account is deleted

Google’s Gmail is a behemoth when it comes to email providers. It has billions of users worldwide who log in daily to check their emails, set up meetings and track calendar entries. You also need a Google account when you set up an Android phone or download apps from the Play Store.

But as more people are trying to get away from Big Tech and all that it represents, some have been looking elsewhere for their email fix. This means that there are millions of Gmail accounts that don’t get used as often.

Moving to a new provider can be a tedious task. This could be why many prefer to keep their accounts open rather than deleting them completely. But this comes with a drawback, as a change in Google policy is about to demonstrate.

Here’s the backstory

Google routinely cleans out inactive Gmail accounts, which frees up space on its data servers. Google defines an inactive account as one with no login (or very little) activity for 24 months.

Once detected, Gmail can automatically delete older things like emails, texts, images and videos from your account without letting you know. If you didn’t log in within a nine-month stretch, your account is automatically deleted.

There is absolutely no way to get your account or the contents of it back once it’s been deleted. This has often happened without prior warning to the original account holder.

Google’s making a change

Taking complaints from frustrated users to heart, Google has decided to implement a policy change. Where accounts were previously deleted without warning, Google has opted not to delete them completely anymore.

Users will also receive a warning notification that their account is about to be marked as inactive. To buy a bit more time, the period for inactivity has now been increased. This should be a welcome change for those who have important documents in their inbox.

What you can do about it

To prevent your account from falling into the inactive category, you must log in at least once a year. If you can do so more than that, it will increase your chances of retaining full control of it.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep your Gmail account active:

  • Make sure to correspond – Send at least one email per year. This can be to anybody, and it doesn’t have to be significant.
  • Clean up your inbox – Delete random emails now and then to increase activity.
  • Update your calendar – Make a calendar entry through Gmail, or shuffle some bogus appointments around.

To be on the safe side, make a backup of anything important that is still in your account. You never know when Google will change the policy again.

But if you’re ready to get away from Big Tech and start using an email provider that you can trust, we recommend our sponsor, StartMail. It’s an ad-free email service that doesn’t collect or share any data with third parties.

Your online activity isn’t tracked, and there is no one building a personal profile of you out of your habits. When you delete mail, it’s gone for good, and you encrypt emails in just a click.

And to make it even better, Kim has set up a special deal for listeners and readers. Tap or click for a 7-day free trial and to get 50% off your first year at StartMail.com/Kim. 

Keep reading

Gmail tips and tricks: 10 buried settings and features to try

Say goodbye to Google’s tracking – This Gmail alternative protects your privacy

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