Is it time to finally delete your Gmail account? Maybe you have an alternate account you never use, want to switch to a different email provider, or you’re simply tired of that silly username you created a decade ago. Whatever the reason, you want your Gmail gone.
It’s important to keep in mind that deleting a Gmail account is a permanent process that, after a brief window in which you might be able to recover it, removes that address from the email client entirely. You can’t change your mind or even make a new account with the same email address — and no one else can use it, either. Deleting your account also means you’ll be deleting every email inside of it forever, so if you have any valuable, unique information stored within your account, it’s important to hunt it down and back it up elsewhere first.
That said, deleting your Gmail account does not delete your Google account. Your Google account is a profile that spans all of Google’s services, including Google+ and YouTube. Deleting your Gmail account will only get rid of your Gmail data, not your Google identity or the other things you’ve done with it. If you still wish to continue, here’s what you need to know.
Step 1: Navigate to Account Preferences
Account Preferences is a hub that allows you to control various aspects of your overarching Google account. It’s a useful tool if you want to change the language your Google services appear in, or if you need to add assistive features to your account, like screen reading. To access it, go to myaccount.google.com and click on the Account Preferences link on the right-hand side of the page.
At the bottom of this page is a section titled Delete your account or services, which is where you’ll delete your Gmail account.
Step 2: Go to Delete products
Once you’ve navigated to the aforementioned section, click Delete products. Avoid the second option, unless you want to get rid of everything related to Google. Once done, you will need to enter the password for your Google account password, which is almost certain to be the same as your Gmail password, in case you aren’t sure which one to use.
Step 3: Choose a Gmail account
The next screen will show which Google services you are involved in, and some basic stats about your activity. You will probably see something about Google+, YouTube, and any additional Google-supported services that you have downloaded or used in the past. Select Gmail from the list. If you are not already logged into Gmail, you will have to provide your address and password to continue.
Step 4: Input an alternative email address
Google requires an alternative email address so that you can still log into other Google services when your default Gmail address is gone. This step may not be necessary, however, if you are deleting an alternate Gmail account or if you already have your Google login set to a different email service.
Step 5: Remove Gmail
Google will then warn you about the consequences of deleting your Gmail account. If you wish to proceed, simply click the Delete Gmail button in the bottom-left corner.
Step 6: Clear your browser
You aren’t quite done yet! If you’ve saved emails from Gmail for offline use or use Gmail offline in any way, then your browser has probably saved some problematic info. To avoid these problems, delete your browser cache and clear the cookies in your browser to make sure any data stored from your Gmail is gone.
A note on deleting an email address
If you’ve been using your email for a long time, remember that you have probably used it to register for services and sign into everything from bill pay features to one-hit wonder apps that you no longer use. When you get rid of your Gmail account, you will no longer receive updates or reminders from any of these accounts. Some of the accounts may no longer function if they cannot find a responsive email address, which means you may have to change your account info or create a new account. In other words, get ready for some cleanup work after your old email is gone.