With the expansion of Google as a one-stop-shop for all your digital needs, it’s no surprise that your original Gmail account connects you to a suite of products offered just with a single sign-on. If you use Google Maps, Google Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, or Gmail, all these products connect and collect personalized data to make searching online easier.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Permanently Delete Your Own Gmail Account
- How to Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Gmail Account
- Gmail Account Deletion: FAQs
Deleting a Gmail account is doable. If you're working to manage digital assets after death for a loved one, we can also help you permanently delete a Gmail account for someone who has died.
Removing accounts that are inactive for the long term is a smart way to avoid leaving opportunities for data breaches or hackers.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, handling their unfinished business like closing accounts can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
How to Permanently Delete Your Own Gmail Account
Google records a lot of data about your online habits. However, they also make it fairly straightforward to delete your account.
To complete the deletion process, you just have to know where to look inside your Gmail account.
Tip: Ensure that your digital assets are taken care of according to your wishes by making a will. You can easily create one from home with an online will maker like Trust & Will.
Log in to your Google account
Start by logging into your account, either through the Gmail website in your browser or even through google.com. Unless you have multiple accounts, you should be able to delete your entire Google account through any of the service log-ins that you use.
Consider any additional steps or details to clarify before moving forward. For example, do you have any money in Google Pay that you’d like to transfer?
Are you using your Gmail for any important log-ins on other sites? This is the time to evaluate whether your account is ready to be deleted, or if you still need access to some of its data.
Download any info or data you wish to keep
Google offers you the ability to download your data after reviewing your account info. Once you’ve decided that you are ready to delete your account, you can selectively download whatever data matters to you.
The rest of the information will be permanently inaccessible. There is also an option to add recovery information should you ever need access to this account later.
If you aren’t interested in recovering the account, you can skip that part and proceed to delete the account. You can even print your Google photos for safe-keeping.
Visit the “My Account” portion of the Google website
While the Google applications can feel like a maze of locations, the easiest way to delete a Gmail account is to go to myaccount.google.com. Ensure that you are logged into the account you wish to delete since other accounts used on a shared computer could be open when you pull up the page.
On the left menu side, you’ll see an option called “Data & Personalization.” Click on it, which should bring up “Delete a Service or Your Account.” This will give you your options.
At this point, you can choose to remove the Gmail service (effectively closing your Gmail account). You can also close your entire Google account, removing all the data that Google has stored about you through this single account.
Click “Delete Your Account” and follow the prompts
Once you choose how much to delete, follow the steps after clicking that button. This process will make it nearly impossible to get your data back, but Google doesn’t immediately delete your data.
If you follow their account recovery process, you’ll be able to see if they’ve permanently deleted your account yet.
However, due to the possibility of a rapid deletion, it’s important to consider your decision and the subsequent effects before you initiate the deletion.
How to Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Gmail Account
Gmail has a fairly forward-thinking approach to Gmail accounts after death. They allow individuals to make a plan for what will happen to their accounts if they go inactive. Some of your loved ones will have made a plan with the Inactive Account Manager and it will automatically delete their account and inform a trusted contact.
For those who have not set up Inactive Account Manager, however, you’ll need to follow the following process. Taking the time to delete your loved one's accounts, including their email accounts, is a part of our recommended post-loss checklist. Though it can be time-consuming, it's a part of their legacy.
Tip: You can continue a loved one's digital legacy with a virtual memorial on a platform like GatheringUs. They even have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.
Gather information about you and the account holder
Some people may need to close the Google account of a deceased family member. Others may have to conduct other searches and transfer any important assets in a Google service, like Google Pay, that needs to get to the estate.
To delete the account of a loved one, you’ll need at least three things to get started. You will need to scan your Driver’s License, the death certificate, and detail your relationship to the deceased as part of their request form. This begins the process of deleting the account.
Respond after your personalized request about the Gmail account
A Google representative should contact you promptly to let you know whether they can delete the account. They also may be able to recover the information for you or disburse money that was in the account.
In some cases, a representative may also see some extra information provided by your loved one in the event that their account ever became inactive. This information may take precedence over your request.
If your request goes through, the Gmail account and other Google data about your loved one will be deleted. If they request any further information or identity confirmation, provide what you can to move forward with the request.
Gmail Account Deletion: FAQs
Gmail account deletion may seem complicated because of its link to other Google services. Overall, Google does a pretty good job of keeping the process simple.
How do you delete your Gmail account from an iPhone or an Android?
In a mobile browser, you can still access myaccount.google.com and make the request to delete your account. If your mobile phone gives you trouble, use a laptop or desktop.
Can you delete a Gmail account if you forgot your password?
Depending on how many recovery phone numbers or other email addresses you have added, you may be able to recover your forgotten password.
Furthermore, if you have two-factor authorization enabled, you will be able to reset or recover your password. Once you do this, you can use the new account details to proceed with deleting your Gmail account.
How can you delete your Google Plus account without deleting your Gmail account?
Most Google Plus accounts were phased out in 2019, so you may already have had your account deleted. If you still have an account, Google has a section called “removing a service” from your overall Google Account. You can select Google Plus, or another service like YouTube and remove it without deleting the entire account or affecting your Gmail.
Being Done With Gmail For Good
Perhaps you recognize that Gmail’s popular browser-based email service is no longer right for you. It is fairly simple to remove your account. Google makes it easy to customize your account and pare down to only the services you wish to use.
You can also submit a request to have an account reviewed and possibly deleted as part of your loved one's ongoing digital legacy. Your request will have more clout if you are a close family member or involved in administering his or her estate.
There has never been a better time than the present to get started with organizing your own digital assets. We all need a strong password manager, for instance, to help save time if someone is trying to close accounts for us, as well as to retain all the secure passwords we need.
- “Delete Your Google Account.” Google Account Help. Google Help Center. support.google.com/accounts/answer/32046?hl=en
- “About Inactive Account Manager.” Google Account Help. Google Help Center. support.google.com/accounts/answer/3036546?hl=en
- “Delete Your Google+ profile.” Google Account Help. Google Help Center. support.google.com/plus/answer/6320423?hl=en