How to delete a Gmail account

Our step-by-step guide on how to close your Google email account for good

Gmail and YouTube icons on a smartphone screen

Gmail is widely considered to be one of the best email platforms available. Since its launch in 2004 as Google Mail, the free service has managed to maintain largely positive reviews as well as 1.8 billion active users. However, its journey was not without hiccups: from security mishaps and outages to unexpected syncing features, Gmail has faced it all. 

That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some users feel like they no longer want to be a part of this specific Google offering. Others might have already found email solace elsewhere, such as Yahoo! Mail or Outlook, and simply no longer require a Gmail account, while maybe some prefer to use Slack or even write letters by hand and rely on the whims of postal services. 

Whatever the reason, you should feel free to be able to delete your Gmail account. Even if you’re happy with its service, it’s important to be aware that this option exists and know how to use it. After all, if you no longer use your account, it’s safer to delete it straight away and not have to worry about potential hacks or breaches in the future.

That is why IT Pro has collated a quick guide on how to rid yourself of your Gmail account once and for all. We’ve also included some helpful illustrations as well as advice on how to prepare your account for deactivation.

Deleting a Gmail account

Prior to deleting any email account, make sure all contact details are exported. You may also wish to download or forward any messages you want to keep after account deletion. 

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You will need to access a desktop or laptop computer with an internet connection, as Gmail apps can't be used to delete accounts. Also, mobile browsers are too difficult to use in these circumstances. 

In a web browser, go to Google account page: https://myaccount.google.com. Click on the sign-in button in the top right corner and enter the details for the Gmail account you wish to delete. 

Once you have logged in, look for "Account Preferences" this will be in the topic boxes in the centre of the web page. Then click on "Delete your account or services".  

On the next page, click on "Delete Products". You will be asked to enter your password again.

Before you delete your account, it's a good idea to download a backup copy of your data. Follow the "Download Data" link to download a full copy of your Gmail messages via Google Takeout. 

When that's backed up, click on the trash icon next to Gmail.

At this point, if you use other Google services, you will have to provide an alternative email address to continue using them. Note that Gmail may already have a secondary address you used when setting up this Gmail account.  

To continue using these services, you will have to send a verification email to this alternative email address. Once that email has been received, click on the verification link to verify the new sign-in address. Once you have signed in with this alternative email address, the deletion of your Gmail email account will be finalised. 

If you have used IMAP to access Gmail, only messages copied to a local folder will be kept. Any emails on the server and folders synchronised with the closed Gmail account will be deleted. 

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