How to clean your old Email

Old, unused email accounts put your security and privacy at risk.

With a compromised account, someone can impersonate you, search for personal information, or try the same password on your other accounts. The more unmonitored (and forgotten) accounts you have out there, the more doors into your personal information there are for sketchy people to walk through. This is especially true if you created accounts years ago without good password hygiene.

So, take a few minutes to recall, locate, and delete email addresses you’re no longer using. Some accounts may be easy to remember, but to ensure you cover all the email services you’re connected to, try the following steps:

  1. Google old usernames and email addresses.
  2. Check FacebookGoogle, and other apps for any connected accounts.
  3. Search saved logins in Chrome (or your preferred browser or password manager).

Before you delete old accounts, check if there are any connected services or data files that you’ll lose access to. If you terminate your Yahoo account, for example, you’ll also lose your Flickr photos. If there’s anything you want to save, make sure you download it or move it to another storage service.

When you’ve got everything saved, follow these steps to delete email addresses from major service providers.

How to delete a Gmail account

You can get rid of one or more Gmail email addresses without deleting your entire Google user profile. Here’s how:

  • Go to your Google account settings page (to make sure you’re logged into under the correct username, click the profile icon in the upper right corner).
  • Select “Data and personalization” from the far-left menu.
  • Scroll to “Download, delete, or make a plan for your data” and select “Delete a service or your account.”
  • Click “Delete a service” on the next page.
  • You’ll be asked to log into your Google account again to verify your account—from there, you can download any data you’ll need before selecting the Trash icon next to the service you want to delete.
  • Enter another email address you’ll have access to in the dialog box and click “Send verification email.”
  • Click the link in the verification email and follow the prompts to finalize the deletion process.

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