We cover all things Google and ChromeOS, but we also understand that not everyone believes in the vision Google has for the future of technology. I may be opinionated when it comes to certain things like cloud gaming and the direction the company is taking things with many of its services, but I do try to be unbiased in my ability to offer resources and information for those who just want to see themselves to the door and leave Google’s ecosystem. That’s why I’m going to show you how to delete your Gmail account and all of your data today.
Deleting Gmail deletes your entire Google Account
The truth of the matter is that by saying your “Gmail account”, I’m really saying “Google Account” since they are one in the same. Though Gmail was introduced back in 2004, the tech giant has since merged every one of its apps and services with something called Single Sign On – a technology that lets you log in once and gain access to a suite of tools under the same identity.
Before you resort to drastic measures
Okay, so before you take action as extreme as deleting your entire Google Account, I want to be sure you first understand the tools within your grasp that will help you to manage and protect your privacy. Some of you reading this may want to delete your account because you’re just done with Google as a company, and that’s fine. Others still have been “hacked”, or have had your data compromised in some way.
Safer with Google is an initiative spawned by the company in an effort to help users do exactly that, and I encourage you to both educate yourself on and utilize the vast array of information set up on the website before continuing.
Some ideas therein include understanding how to create strong passwords, managing and maintaining your passwords like a pro, using two-step verification on your account, and more. Lastly, I encourage you to use Google Takeout to grab a copy of all of your account data across the board just in case you ever decide to return to the company for storage and features not found with competitors or on your local computer.
How to delete your Google Account
So, if you’re still interested in getting your head out of the clouds and minimizing your digital footprint, here’s how to go about doing so. First, visit your Google Account on the web and click the ‘Data & privacy‘ tab. From there, just scroll to the bottom of the page and select the ‘Delete your Google Account’ option. To be absolutely clear, this will completely wipe your account and all of its data out for good.
So that there’s no confusion, I will say it a third time – your Google Photos, Drive storage, Keep notes, Passwords, Calendar events, emails, Google Play Store purchases including Books, movies, music and games, your Google Contacts, YouTube uploads and playlists, Maps data, web search history and literally everything else associated with this Google Account will be permanently deleted with no way of being restored ever again unless you have used Google Takeout to grab a copy prior to this step!
Be slow and intentional with this decision
The most vital thing you ought to know though about deleting your Google Account, however, is that anywhere you utilize this email address will be inaccessible to you going forward. This alone is enough to cause anyone considering a full deletion to reconsider.
If you use your email address to log into your bank online, have a Google Fi cell phone service tied to it, log into Amazon to shop, have AdSense for earning money on your blog, share files with colleagues in a professional setting, are subscribed to services through GPay, own photos shared with grandparents or loved ones, are signed into Chromebooks or Android phones, or any other collaborative or financially-focused aspect of your digital life, then I would recommend you first switch to another email in all of these locations before deleting anything.
Consider phasing the account out instead of deleting it
Here’s what I did when I switched to a newer email address as I grew older. Instead of deleting my account right away, I gave myself one year to make the switch. Within that time frame, I made a list of all places that utilize that email address and slowly and methodically went through them to update them to the new address. Additionally, I meticulously combed through all of my account data and exported it or deleted it so that by the time I wanted to nuke the account, I would have no regrets.
Because I owned digital content like audiobooks and other things on that old email address, I spent time catching up with my reading, playing through games, and more. It baffles me that Google doesn’t have a way to let you transfer purchased content with proof of identity, and for that reason, I ended up keeping the old email address in the end. Surprise! Instead of using it actively, I keep it signed in for family sharing content for digital ownership and just in case I encounter situations where an old online account still uses it for logging in. You never know when this will happen, and in my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Again, if you want to eliminate your Google Account for privacy reasons, then I wholeheartedly support that. However, if you’re looking to tidy up your digital footprint or stop using firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address now that you’re trying to run a professional lifestyle, then I would consider the method I prescribed above.
Always having the old data lingering around can add a mental of clutter, but in my opinion, it’s worth the trade off of not losing access to vital online accounts or the regret you feel years from now when you realize that you will never again be able to sign into something because their account recovery requires you to have access to the email address you deleted entirely.