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How to delete a Gmail account

screenshot of gmail
(Image credit: Google / Future)

Having a Google account is useful for services like Google Drive and Google Pay. However, understanding how to delete a Gmail account without removing other Google account services means you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your account without having to compromise on email security. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, follow our four simple steps below to easily remove Gmail from your account.

Using one of the best password managers (opens in new tab) can further help to protect your online activity. You might also wish to explore another one of the best email providers (opens in new tab) to use instead of Gmail to help protect your online communications.

How to delete a Gmail account: Preparation

Deleting your Gmail account does not mean your Google account will be removed entirely. Before you begin, decide whether you just want to delete your Gmail account or if you want to remove your Google account entirely. Following the steps below won’t remove other Google services like Google Pay or Google Photos, for example, so Google will still have access to some of your data.

Also, if you use Gmail through work or school, you will need to contact your administrator before being able to delete your account. If you’re looking to just delete a personal account, however, it’s a good idea to first download your data before beginning the deletion process. You can do this by going to takeout.google.com and choosing the data you wish to save, including email, documents, YouTube videos, and data about registration and account activity. You can opt to have this data sent to an email address for download or have it added to your Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive storage—though this will count towards your overall storage allowance on your hosting service.

Finally, if you have previously used Gmail offline, you’ll need to clear your browser's cache and cookies once all other steps have been completed in order to complete the deletion process.

Step 1: Head to Data & Privacy

To get started, open your browser of choice and log into your Google account (opens in new tab) if you haven’t done so already. If you’re using Chrome, you can quickly access your account by clicking on the circular profile image and clicking Manage your Google Account. 

You can also access Manage your Google Account from directly within the Gmail app on your phone. Click the top-left menu symbol in the Search in emails search bar and scroll to the bottom until you reach Settings. Within the Settings menu, click on your Gmail address, then click Manage your Google Account.

Whether you’re following these steps from a web browser or on your Gmail app, you’ll then be presented with your Google account menu page. Click the Data & privacy tab in the menu on the left-hand side on a web browser on desktop or along the top toolbar from within the Gmail app or on a web browser on mobile.

Screenshot of data and privacy options on the Google account management page

Whether you’re using Chrome on desktop or mobile, you’ll need to go to the account management page to begin the Gmail deletion process. (Image credit: Google)

Step 2: Scroll down to Delete a Google Service

Clicking the Data & Privacy tab will take you to a page with information on covering data and browsing options, tailoring Google advertisements, and the information you share with others. 

Whether you’re on desktop or using the Gmail mobile app, you’ll need to scroll down past this information to get to the header titled Data from apps and services you use. You’ll see a couple of options underneath, including how to download your data from any Google service. Assuming you’ve already done this, click on Delete a Google Service to head to the next step. Bear in mind you may need to log in again.

Screenshot of Google’s data and privacy menu options

You can manage or delete content related to the Google services you use so you’re in control of your data. (Image credit: Google)

Step 3: Click on the bin symbol next to Gmail

On the Delete a Google service page, you’ll see a list of services you’re able to delete from your account, including YouTube, Google Pay, and Gmail. Click on the bin symbol next to Gmail.

Screenshot of the Delete a Google service page from a Chrome browser

You can opt to delete your Gmail account only so you can continue to use YouTube or Google Pay services on your Google Account. (Image credit: Google)

Step 4: Finalize the deletion process by adding a new email

To continue using your Google account once your Gmail has been deleted, you’ll need a new email address to sign in with. This can’t be another Gmail address. 

Enter an existing email address in the box that pops up. This is the same on both desktop and within the Gmail app. You’ll then receive a verification message at this new email address. 

Gmail won’t be deleted from your account until you’ve clicked the link in this verification message. If you change your mind after deleting your Gmail account, you have a 20-day time period to recover a recently deleted Gmail account. Once 20 days have passed, your Gmail account and all associated data will have been permanently deleted, and Google will not be able to recover it.

Screenshot of the How you’ll sign into Google box from a Chrome browser

Add a new email address to your Google account when you delete your Gmail account so you can continue enjoying other Google services. (Image credit: Google)

Summary

Deleting a Gmail service from your Google account is relatively simple, so you can easily remove email addresses you’re no longer using or switch to a more secure or private email server. Having the option to do this from your desktop browser or from within the Gmail app on your phone also makes for a smooth process. 

Remember to click on the link within the verification email sent to the new email address you’ve registered with Google.

Failing to do so will mean your Gmail account won’t be deleted. Once your account has been deleted, you won’t be able to restore that address in the future, and no one else will be able to take that name. However, you’re free to create a new Gmail or Google Account at any point. 

If you’re looking for further guidance with online privacy, follow our guide on how to delete your accounts from any website (opens in new tab).

Chelsea Forsyth
Chelsea Forsyth

Chelsea is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from the London School of Journalism and a passion for lifestyle interests, especially as they intersect with consumer and business technology.

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