How To Delete Your Gmail And Google Account Permanently

Delete button icon, Laptop and email icon dissolving in tin air
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How To Delete Your Gmail And Google Account Permanently — A Quick Guide

Deleting your Gmail or Google account is a permanent process. Depending on which of the two you delete, you’ll lose all your emails, Google Drive pictures and other files, bookmarks, favorite Google Maps locations, and access to all associated services.

Here’s how to delete your Gmail account:

  1. Go to My Account to access your account settings.
  2. Click on the “Data and privacy tab.”
  3. Navigate to “Delete a Google service” and click on it.
  4. Fill out your password to verify your identity.
  5. Click on the trash can icon next to Gmail.
  6. Fill out a replacement email address, open its inbox, then look for an email from Google. Click on the link inside.
  7. Follow the steps to finalize the deletion of your account.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to backup all your data from Google before you proceed with the deletion!

For proper step-by-step instructions on deleting your Gmail and Google accounts, read the full article below!

Gmail is arguably the most popular email service in the world. The tremendously popular free email service is used by about 1.5 billion people worldwide. However, there can be many reasons why you’d want to delete your Gmail account.

Maybe you’re switching to another email service? Or, perhaps you have an embarrassing user name? Or, it could be due to privacy concerns?  Whatever your reason, you should know deleting your Gmail account is not a straightforward process.

In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to delete your Gmail account.


Factors To Consider Before Deleting Your Gmail Account

Gmail logoIt’s important to note that deleting your Gmail doesn’t mean you’re deleting your Google account. In other words, you will still have access to all of the pictures and other content on your Google Drive, your Google Play account, and all of the other Google services that you’re using. Be aware that deleting your Gmail account is permanent.

But, it does mean you’ll lose your entire Gmail inbox. In other words, you will lose all of your emails forever. You’ll also no longer be able to send and receive emails on/from your Gmail account.

Because of the permanent nature of deleting Gmail, we strongly encourage you to make a backup of your Gmail account.

Below we’ll explain just how to delete your Gmail account, and further down, we’ll tell you how to delete your Google account too.

How To Delete Your Gmail Account — A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s our step-by-step guide to deleting your Gmail account.

1. Make a backup of your Gmail account

  1. Go to My Account. Sign in if you haven’t signed in yet.
  2. Click on the “Data and privacy tab.”
    Screenshot of Google, Google account settings menu
  3. Scroll down until you see a big block titled “Download or delete your data.
    Screenshot of Google, Download or delete your data
  4. Click on “Download your data.
  5. Click on “Deselect all” at the top.
  6. Now scroll down and select “Mail” and any other Google applications you might want to back up. Click on “Next step.”
    Screenshot of Google, Google Backup mail
  7. Select the way you’d like to receive your backup at the top of the next screen.
  8. Choose the export frequency (just once or every two months for a year), the file type, and the maximum file size. If a file is larger than the specified file size, it will be split into two or multiple files.
  9. Click on “Create export” at the bottom.
  10. Wait until the export is complete. Do note that depending on the size of the export file (size of your inbox, basically!), this process can take a few minutes or even several hours.
  11. When the process is complete, you’ll have immediate access to your files, or you will need to download them via a link that’s sent to your Gmail if you selected this option.

This section will explain how to delete your Gmail account on Desktop, iPhone, and Android.

2. Deleting your Gmail account via a desktop browser

  1. Go to My Account on your desktop browser.
  2. Click on the “Data and privacy tab.”
    Screenshot of Google, Google account settings menu
  3. Scroll down to “Data from apps and services that you use.
  4. Click on “Delete a Google service.
    Screenshot of Google, Download or delete your data
  5. Enter your password to verify your identity.
  6. You’ll be presented with three services you can delete. Click on the trash can icon next to Gmail.
    Screenshot of Google, Select Gmail to delete
  7. Now you have to enter another email address, which will be your new username for other Google services. This cannot be a Gmail address (obviously). Once you do, click on “Send verification email.
  8. Go to the email account you entered above and find the Gmail deletion email.
  9. Click on the link in the email and log in to your Gmail account one last time.
  10. Select “Yes, I want to delete [gmail account].” N0w click on “Delete Gmail” and “Done” to completely delete your account.

Deleting your Gmail account on iPhone or iPad

Deleting your Gmail account from an iPhone or iPad is virtually similar to the process above. Instead of opening Gmail through a desktop browser, however, you can use the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad.

Now tap on your profile picture or initials in the top right corner and on “Manage your Google Account.” From there, just follow steps 2 through 10.

Deleting your Gmail account via an Android device

  1. Open your device’s “Settings” app.
  2. Go to “Google.” The easiest thing is to type “Google” in the search bar and just tap it. Note: Make sure you’re going to “Google” in “System settings,” not in “Accounts & sync/Other” or something similar.
    Google in System settings option
  3. Now tap on “Manage your Google Account.”
    Screenshot of Google, Manage your Google account settings button highlighted
  4. Go to the “Data and privacy” tab.
  5. Scroll all the way down to the little box that says “Download or delete your data.
    Screenshot of Google, Data and privacy tab
  6. You can also download your data before deciding to delete your Gmail account.
  7. Tap on “Delete a Google service.
  8. Confirm your identity once more by using your fingerprint, password, or phone/tablet to get a security code.
  9. Now, to finalize the deletion of your Gmail account, just follow the on-screen instructions.
  10. You’ll have to enter another email address to get the Gmail deletion link and click on it to complete the process. It’s the same as steps 7 to 10 from the previous section.

Backup your Gmail data on Android, iPhone, or iPad

Please note that you can also back up your Gmail and other Google data on your Android or iPhone. If you haven’t done so yet on your desktop before deleting your Gmail account, we strongly remember taking the time to do this on a mobile device.

It’s very simple: when you’ve navigated to your Google account settings and tapped the “Data and Privacy” tab, just scroll down to the little box that says “Download or delete your data”. Instead of choosing “Delete a Google service,” you’ll select “Download your data.”

Then, just follow the instructions on-screen to create a backup of all your emails.


What Happens To Emails in The Deleted Gmail Account?

To be clear, if you delete your Gmail account, your emails will be gone forever. However, Google gives you a grace period. If you recover your Gmail account within a short period after deletion, you can save your mails. It takes Google 30 days to fully delete a Gmail account.

In this case, you will have access to all of your emails, except for the ones sent to you while your account was deactivated. This brings us to the next point.


What Happens To Emails Sent To My Deleted Gmail Address?

If someone sends an email to your Gmail address while it is deactivated (or deleted permanently), it will simply bounce back. You’ll just get an error saying that your message cannot be delivered, as the recipient’s account does not exist. It will look like this:

Screenshot of Google, Deleted Gmail account, bounced email

This is exactly why it’s probably a good idea to tell your important and close contacts you’ve deleted your Gmail account.


Can You Recover a Deleted Gmail Account?

If you recently deleted your Gmail account, there is a decent chance you can recover it. However, keep in mind there are no guarantees, as Google doesn’t mention the exact timeframe for keeping data after deletion. In general, it’s 30 days, though it differs.

In order to try to recover your account, go to the official Google account recovery link. Fill out your email address, click “Next,” fill out your password, and press “Next” again. If you’re successful, you’ll get the following message:

Screenshot of Google, Gmail account recovery successful window

Now you are able to either continue and sign in, or change your password. The latter is a good security practice and definitely can’t hurt. Make sure you only use secure passwords.


Deleting Your Google Account

Please be aware that, in principle, deleting your Google account is just as permanent as deleting your Gmail account. Unless you’re lucky enough to attempt a recovery within the short after-deletion period (30 days) that allows for this, you will lose all your data.

The consequences of this are, needless to say, much more severe than losing just your Gmail account. After all, you will lose everything that’s saved in your Google Drive, all of your Google bookmarks, emails, and all information associated with your Google account.

You’ll also lose access to any services that you’re using with your Google account, such as Facebook. We also have a guide on permanently deleting your Facebook account!

Make a backup!

Backup your files iconWe strongly recommend making a backup of everything within your Google account you deem important before deletion. In this case, just make sure not to click “deselect all,” but only deselect the applications you really don’t care about.

Without further ado, let’s check out how to delete your Google account.


How To Delete Your Google Account

  1. Go to the settings in your Google account by going to My Account.
  2. Go to “Data and privacy.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see “More options.”
  4. Click on “Delete your Google account.”
  5. Fill out your password to confirm your identity or use one of the other methods.
  6. You’ll be presented with the consequences of deleting your Google account. Read this carefully.
  7. Tick the two boxes to confirm you understand the financial implications and to indicate once again you want to delete your account. Now click on the “Delete account” button.

Note this method will work with any browser on desktop, Android, iPhone, or iPad.


How To Recover Your Google Account

Recover your account iconWe don’t encourage deleting your Google account without making up your mind that that’s absolutely what you want or without backing up your data. However, we all change our minds sometimes!

If this happens to you, not too long after deleting your Google account, There is, fortunately, a chance to get it back. Follow the steps down below to see if you can still recover your Google account.

  1. Go to the official Google account recovery link.
  2. Fill out your email address and click “Next.”
  3. Fill out your password and click “Next” again.

If you’re successful, you’ll get a message your account has been successfully recovered. You’ll get the option to sign back in or to change your password.

Note: Google doesn’t mention a specific time frame for how long after deletion you’re able to recover your Google account. So there is no guarantee you’ll get your account back, even if you feel you’ve deleted it very recently.

It’s also important to note that everything Google knows about you remains in Google’s systems for roughly two months after you delete your account. If it was removed unintentionally, the company also has a month-long recovery period, as per Google’s policies.

How To Delete Your Gmail And Google Account Permanently — Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a specific question about deleting your Gmail or Google account? Check out our FAQ section for quick answers to commonly asked questions!

Deleting your Gmail account is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Google account settings.
  2. Click on the “Data and privacy” tab.
  3. Select “Delete a Google service.”
  4. Fill out your password to confirm.
  5. Click on the trash can icon next to Gmail and follow the steps that appear on the screen.

Yes, you can permanently delete your Google account. To find out how this works, have a look at the second last guide in our article on deleting your Gmail and Google accounts. Do remember, after deleting your Google account, you will lose access to all of your Google applications with that account and their data.

If you delete your Gmail account and wait until the (unspecified) recovery timeframe has passed, your emails will be gone forever. This is why we strongly encourage you to make a backup of your Gmail account, before deleting it. You can read here how to do this.

Tech journalist
Nathan is an internationally trained journalist and has a special interest in the prevention of cybercrime, especially where vulnerable groups are concerned. For VPNoverview.com he conducts research in the field of cybersecurity, internet censorship, and online privacy. He also contributed to developing our rigorous VPN testing and reviewing procedures using evidence-based best practices.