How to Permanently Delete a Google Photos Account: Step-By-Step

Updated

Doesn’t it seem so much easier to open an account online than it is to delete one? Whether you’re trying to reduce or clean up your online usage or manage the account of a loved one who’s recently died, deleting an account should be straightforward.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Let’s take a look at how you can delete your Google photos account in a few quick steps.

You must be absolutely sure that you want to delete the account permanently. Otherwise, Google may or may not be able to recover it for you if or when you change your mind. 

Note: if this is a work or school account, contact the Google photos account administrator to delete it for you.

How to Delete Your Own Google Photos Account

Let’s look at how to correctly delete your Google photos account and not lose any images on your phone. Worse, you could wind up uninstalling the App while unknowingly keeping your account active. Follow these steps to avoid that.

Step 1. Check out what gets deleted on your account.

Google Photos syncs your photos from your device to the account. So, take note that when you delete pictures on your account, you’ll permanently delete them on your phone, too. 

Step 2. Access your account

Sign into your Google photos account. Look for the menu located on the upper left. Then choose the account you want to delete. From there, click Remove Active Account for the account in question. Then repeat for any additional accounts associated with the Photo App.

Step 3. Verify your work

Next, verify the steps you took and make sure they were effective. To do that, 

  • Turn off and restart your phone. 
  • Take some random photos. 
  • Check to see if the new photos have synched.

If the new photos haven’t synced, and your account does not show up again, then the steps you took should have been successful. 

Step 4. Uninstall the App

Don’t skip to this step before following the previous one. Deleting the App only “deletes the App.” Google will still have permission to sync your photos. So, if you’ve jumped ahead, return to Step 2. 

Otherwise, now you can uninstall the App. 

Step 5. A quick note about Apps

Here’s a quick note on Apps in general.

Before you install the next App on your phone, do some research. Understand what permissions it needs, what notifications it’ll send you, and anything that App will create on your phone, Internet, or Cloud. 

Save the hassle if you have some hesitations and skip it. 

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How to Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Google Photos Account

In the scope of executor duties, you may have to close a few online accounts, including your loved one’s Google photos account. This can be an easy, straightforward process if you have the correct documentation.

Step 1. Plan ahead

When and if you have the opportunity now, talk to your loved one about creating a password manager. The password manager will store the passwords used for various online accounts so that loved ones can readily access accounts without the added stress in the event of their death. 

Alternatively, your loved one could create something called an Inactive Account Manager. Setting up that function will give your loved one the authority to determine who has the right to manage or access their account when they die and if they want to have it deleted at all.

Step 2. If possible, follow the steps above 

If your loved one created a password manager before they died, or if you otherwise have access to their Google photos account, go back to follow Steps 2–4 above. You will need to:

  • Access the account associated with Google photos.
  • Remove the account in question.
  • Verify your work to see that it was successful.
  • Uninstall the App.

If you don’t have ready access to your loved one’s account, move to the next step below.

Step 3. What you need to know about Google Support

Google Support will work with immediate relatives and representatives, such as estate managers or executors, to close your loved one’s account “where appropriate.” Google indicates that they won’t divulge passwords or login information, but they may or may not provide content from their accounts.

Pro-tip: there’s a good reason why companies generally won’t give you login details. Often, users tend to recycle their passwords. Giving that information away could let others obtain login details for banks, insurance companies, and other accounts with sensitive or important data. 

If that’s something you do, it might be time to switch up a few of those passwords.

Step 4. Submit a request for review by Google Support

  • Log on to Google’s Support page.
  • Scroll down to find the list of options for your loved one’s account.
  • Review the list provided and click the circle to the left of “Close the account of a deceased user.”
  • Fill in the requested information from the drop-down menu.

Step 5. Provide the documents requested

Google Support needs two documents from you to start. They will contact you if they require additional documentation.

  • A scan of your driver’s license or other government-issued ID
  • A scan of the death certificate

Note: if you need another death certificate or a replacement one, contact the funeral home that helped your loved one. Otherwise, if you’re not sure how to get a death certificate, contact the vital statistics office in your loved one’s hometown or county.

Step 6. Click the Submit button

Google Support does not suggest a timeline for when they’ll get in touch. They offer a disclaimer instead. 

It states that the information you provide may be used to improve any internal technical issues and external customer support.

Permanently Closing a Google Photos Account

Take a cue from helping your loved one to set up a password manager or other Inactive Account Manager through Google in the event of death. It’ll save a lot of time and energy for loved ones later on.


Sources:
  1. “Submit a request regarding a deceased user's account.” Google Account Help, Google, 2021, support.google.com/accounts/troubleshooter/6357590?hl=en

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