There are plenty of reasons why some people are choosing to cut the Google cord. Maybe you prefer to go the open source route or have privacy concerns that are pushing you to find Google alternatives. No matter what your reason, the first step to walking away from all things Google is to delete your Google or Gmail account.
Google gives users two easy options for deleting accounts.
The first option is to delete just your Gmail account. If you choose to do this, you will need to have another email address handy in order to continue with Google services associated with your Gmail account like Google Drive and Calendar. This email cannot be a Gmail address.
The second option is to delete your entire Google account altogether. This clean-cut kills access to all Google products that require an account.
The methods below are pretty close to one-click solutions. To its credit, Google makes it extremely easy to shut down accounts, and wipes your data for you. That said, there are a few things you’ll probably want to do in preparation for the process.
Prepare to Delete Your Account
Let’s take this step by step.
First: Think back and carefully update details for any accounts linked to your Gmail address before you delete it. If you’re using Gmail for your bank account for example, you’ll want to change that before you get rid of your account.
Second: Back up your data. It may be just Gmail or your entire Google data. If you don’t want to back up your data you can skip to the next sections.
But first, let’s download your data stored on Google’s servers.
- Log into the Google account you want to delete and go to your Account page. (You can also reach this by clicking on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner and selecting My Account.)
- Under Accounts & Preferences click Delete your account or services.
- Click Delete products and enter your password when prompted.
- Click the Download Data link.
- The data that’s available can include map data, Google Drive files, Google Photos Bookmarks, Contacts, and more. When downloading your data, you can selectively choose which products you would like to hang on to. After making your selection click Next.
- Choose your archive format (ZIP, TGZ, or TBZ) and the maximum archive size. You can choose to save all your data in one large zip file, but if you’d prefer to split it up into smaller files, this is where you’d make that selection. The largest file size available is 50GB and any files larger than 2GB will be compressed in ZIP64.
- Choose how you want to receive the archive: email, Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. (If you choose to receive a link to your archived data, you’ll have one week to download it.
- Once you have all your settings selected, click Create archive. Depending on how much data is in your account – this process could take hours or even days.
Delete Your Gmail Account
It’s always wise to create a backup. But if you don’t want to or your backup has been completed, move on to the following steps:
- Again, log in to the Gmail account you want to delete and go to your main Account page. Under Accounts & Preferences click Delete your account or services. Click Delete products and enter your password when prompted. Click the Trash icon.
- At the prompt, enter an email that you can use with other Google products associated with your account. This email address cannot be a Gmail address. A verification email will be sent to the account to confirm ownership. Your Gmail account will not be deleted until that verification link is clicked. Enter the email and click Send verification email.
- Click the verification email and you’ll see a message with additional details on the consequences of the account deletion. Check the box confirming you want to delete your email account and click Delete Gmail.
Delete Your Google Account
If you’d rather get rid of your entire account and don’t want to use any Google products at all, you’ll want to follow these steps instead:
- Log in to the Google account you want to delete and go to your Account page.
- Under Accounts & Preferences click Delete your account or services. Click Delete Google Account and Data and enter your password when prompted.
- Check the boxes confirming that you acknowledge responsibility for any pending charges for paid Google services and confirming that you want to delete your account and its data. Click the Delete Account button.
- A message will confirm that your account has been deleted. This message also includes a link that allows you to recover your account if you’re faced with instant regret.
Recover Your Account
Google gives you a short window of time to recover your account. It’s not clear exactly how long that window is, but it does say that it takes two business days to wipe and delete your accounts permanently.
If you want to attempt a recovery, follow these steps:
- Go to Account Support.
- Enter the email address or phone number associated with the account that was deleted.
- You’ll be told the account was deleted. Click the link Attempt to restore this account.
- Enter a CAPTCHA at the prompt.
- Enter the last password you remember and click Next.
- If your account can be recovered, you’ll see a message confirming that you’ve successfully recovered the deleted account.
If you’re able to recover your account, you should find all of your data as is.
Getting Rid of Other Accounts
Do you want to go even further and get rid of more of your online accounts? A service like Deseat.me will come in handy. It will help you find accounts you’ve signed up for but have forgotten all about.
There are other sites out there that try to guide you through the process of account deletion like Account Killer which provides instructions on how to delete accounts on a ton of different online services.
Have you thought about deleting your Gmail or Google accounts? Let us know why and what service are you going to use instead in the comments.