How to Delete a Gmail Account

Google’s Gmail is the most popular email provider in the US, according to Statista, but perhaps you’re looking for something new or want to delete an old Gmail account you no longer use.

It’s important to remember that deleting a Gmail account is permanent. There is a brief period where you will be able to recover your account, but after that window, there is no going back. And you can’t create a new account using the same name down the line (neither can anyone else), so make sure you’re truly ready to say goodbye.

Deleting a Gmail account is not the same thing as deleting your entire Google account. While deleting your Google Account will delete your Gmail, as well as other Google services like YouTube, there is a way to just delete your email account and leave your other profiles intact. Here’s how.

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Change the Email for Online Accounts

Are you using this particular email address to log into any services across the web? Amazon? Uber? Facebook? Make sure you change the emails associated with those accounts before proceeding.

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How to Export Your Gmail Emails

Deleting a Gmail account obviously deletes all the emails and other information contained within that account. To preserve that content, download it before you hit delete.

While signed into the Gmail account in question, navigate to Google Takeout, which makes it simple to export your Gmail emails. By default, everything will be selected, so click “Select none” on the top right. Then scroll down to “Mail” and toggle that to on. Click the drop-down menu to customize which data is downloaded (all mail versus specific labels, for example). Then click Next. You’ll then select file type, archive size (archives over 2GB will be delivered in multiple files), and how you want to receive it (via email or sent to a cloud storage service like Dropbox).

Note that your Gmail content will be delivered in the MBOX format, so it won’t be as easy to parse as it is in your Gmail inbox.

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Access Account Preferences

While signed into the account you wish to delete, navigate to, or click your account avatar on the top-right and select Google Account. A new page will open; under Account Preferences, click Delete your account or services.

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Delete Google Products

Here, you will have two options: Delete Products, which will allow you to delete your account from a Google service; and Delete Google Account and data, which will let you delete your entire Google Account. At this point we only want to remove the Gmail account, so click Delete Products.

You will be asked to enter your Gmail password and confirm that you do indeed want to nuke the account in question.

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Choose Your Gmail Address

Google will urge you to download your data, and list all the Google services affiliated with your Gmail address. Click the trash can icon next to Gmail to delete you email address.

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Enter Alternate Email Address

Google will then request a non-Gmail alternative email address from which you can access the other Google services—such as YouTube, Google+ (for now), Google Play, Docs, and Calendars—associated with the Gmail account you’re deleting. Once you enter the alternative email, you’ll have to verify it before you can continue with the deletion process.

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Verify Alternate Email Address

Log into your non-Gmail email address and you will see an email from Google with the subject line “Gmail Deletion Confirmation.” You must now verify the non-Gmail email address as your alternate email address. Click the link in the message and you’ll be led to a confirmation screen.

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Confirm Gmail Deletion

Read the message from Google—it contains useful information about what happens to your Gmail account, messages, and how to access other Google services with the alternate email address just provided. It also lets you know that you can still access the account for two days after confirming deletion, just in case. After reading, check the confirmation box and click Delete Gmail. From there you will be led to a confirmation screen verifying that you deleted your Gmail account.

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