You can be very attached to your Gmail account, especially if you’ve had it for years, so it’s potentially a big move to delete your Gmail account. But sometimes you just need to move on. For instance, you may hate Google’s privacy policies or suddenly realize that you’ve outgrown that cheeky email address you created at age 12. Here’s our guide on how to delete your Gmail account permanently as well as how to recover it.
The Difference Between a Gmail Account and a Google Account
Before we dive into how to delete your Gmail account, it is important to distinguish between a Gmail account and a Google Account so that you understand what you’re deleting.
Your Google Account is essentially a username and password that gives you access to all of Google’s range of products and services, such as Gmail. There are different types of Google Accounts, including Personal, Workspace (formerly G-Suite), Cloud Identity, and Managed Google Play Account. You don’t need a Gmail account to create a personal Google Account, as you can create one with a third-party email address.
If you delete your Google Account, you’ll lose access to all Google services, including Gmail. On the other hand, if you delete your Gmail account, you can still access other Google services using a third-party email address that is attached to your account.
Things to Do Before Deleting Your Gmail Account
There are two key things to do before you delete your Gmail account.
1. Replace Your Gmail Address With Another Email Address
If you use your Gmail email address for online banking, online shopping, or other online accounts/activities, replace it with a new contact email address before deleting it.
This way you won’t miss important emails, updates, or even two-step verification codes delivered via email if you have enabled that option for some of your online accounts.
2. Download Your Gmail Data
You will also want to download your Gmail data. If you don’t, you’ll lose access to all your Gmail data once you delete your Gmail account. To download your data, follow the below steps:
1. Open “Gmail -> Manage your Google Account -> Data and privacy -> Download your data,” or simply visit the Download your data page.
2. Click “Deselect all,” then scroll down to “Mail” and tick the checkbox.
3. Select between “Multiple formats” and “All Mail data included.” The latter was chosen for this tutorial. It includes all messages in Mail, meaning you don’t need to manually delete your Gmail emails.
You can also select which labels or folders you want to export by unchecking the “Include all messages in Mail” box and ticking the appropriate boxes. Click “OK” when done.
4. Scroll all the way to the end of the dialog and click “Next step.”
5. Select your delivery method, frequency, and file type and size as desired, then click “Create export.”
Your export will now begin. Note that this process may take hours or days, depending on the size of your data, and can also be done on your mobile phone following the same process. You’ll receive an email when it’s completed.
How to Delete Your Gmail Account on Desktop
1. Sign in to Gmail, click your avatar at the top right, and select “Manage your Google Account.”
2. Click on “Data & privacy” in the left side panel.
3. Scroll all the way down until you reach the “Download or delete your data” box. Click “Delete a Google service.” You’ll be prompted to sign in to your account to verify your identity.
4. Once signed in, you’ll see a list of Google services attached to your account that can be deleted. Click on the bin icon next to “Gmail.”
5. Enter an email address when prompted so that your other Google accounts – Drive, Docs, and so on – can remain active. Your alternative email address can’t be another Gmail address.
6. You’ll receive an email at the alternate address you entered asking you to click a link and confirm that you do indeed want to do away with your Gmail account for good.
7. Click the link and review the warning message that rightly claims not to be “the usual yada yada.”
8. If you still want to proceed with deleting your Gmail account, then tick the checkbox at the bottom of the dialog and click “DELETE GMAIL.”
How to Delete Your Gmail Account on Android/iOS
You can also delete your Gmail account on your Android or iOS device by following the same basic process.
1. Open the Gmail app, tap on your profile picture, then tap “Manage your Google Account.”
2. On the next screen, tap “Data and privacy.”
3. Scroll down and tap “Delete a Google service.” On iOS, you can go to myaccount.google.com.
4. Sign in to your account and tap the bin icon beside Gmail.
5. Tap the “Please select” drop-down to select how you’ll sign in to Google after you delete your Gmail, then tap “NEXT.”
6. Enter an alternate email address and tap “SEND VERIFICATION MAIL,” review the information in the dialog, then tap “GOT IT.”
7. Open the “Gmail Deletion Confirmation” message in your alternate email address and tap on the link.
8. Review the warning message and tick the confirmation checkbox at the end, then tap “DELETE GMAIL.”
That’s it! You’ll no longer have access to your Gmail inbox.
What Happens After You Delete Your Gmail Account?
After you delete your email account, your email and mail settings will be deleted, and you’ll no longer have access to the deleted Gmail account. Your Google Account will still be intact, as will your account activity and purchases you made on Google Play.
Most importantly, you can recover your deleted Gmail account should you decide to.
How to Recover a Deleted Gmail Account
For a limited time – two to three weeks after deletion – Google will allow you to recover your Gmail account in its entirety. Thereafter, although you’ll still be able to restore your Gmail address with your former username, all the emails will be gone.
1. To recover your deleted Gmail account, go to mail.google.com and sign in with your alternate email address as the username but use the defunct Gmail account password.
2. You’ll be prompted to add the deleted Gmail account back to your Google Account.
3. Review the information and click “Submit.”
4. You’ll be asked to enter your phone number to verify your account. Do so and select how you want to receive the code, then click “Continue.”
5. Enter the 6-digit verification code you received and click “Continue.” Your Gmail account will be restored.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I create a new Gmail account with my previous username?
As explained above, you can recover and reuse your previous Gmail username even after deleting your Gmail account within the grace period. After the grace period, your emails would not be recoverable, so it would more or less be considered a new Gmail account.
2. What happens when someone sends an email to my defunct address Gmail address?
When someone sends an email to your deleted Gmail address, the message will not be delivered because the address does not exist anymore. The sender will receive a failed delivery notification to that effect.
3. Can someone else reuse my old Gmail address?
No, Google does not allow others to reuse any username from a deleted account, as the former owner may return and recover it. Google will suggest other close alternatives to that username.
It’s almost strange how simple it is to delete your Gmail account considering how significant the implications are. Thankfully, you can also recover a deleted Gmail account if you act fast. Just ensure that you back up everything crucial from your Gmail and that you set an alternative email address to work with your other Google accounts. If you decide to keep your Gmail address, learn the best tips to protect your Gmail account security and how to manage multiple email accounts while checking email in one place.