You can be very attached to your Gmail account, especially if you've had it for years, so it's potentially a great move to delete your Gmail account. But sometimes you just have to keep going. For example, you might hate Google's privacy policies or suddenly realize you've outgrown that cheeky email address you created at age 12. Here is our guide on how to permanently delete your Gmail account and how to get it back.
The difference between a Gmail account and a Google account
Before delving into how to delete your Gmail account, it is important to distinguish between a Gmail account and a Google account so that you understand what you are deleting.
Your Google account is essentially a username and password that give you access to the full range of Google products and services, such as Gmail. There are several types of Google accounts, including personal, workspace (formerly G-Suite), Cloud Identity, and managed Google Play account. You don't need a Gmail account to create a personal Google account, as you can create one with a third-party email address.
If you delete your Google account, you will lose access to all Google services, including Gmail. On the other hand, if you delete your Gmail account, you can still access other Google services using a third-party email address attached to your account.
Things to do before deleting your Gmail account
There are two basic things to do before deleting your Gmail account.
Replace your Gmail address with another email address
If you use your Gmail email address for online banking, online shopping, or other online accounts / activities, replace it with a new contact email address before deleting it.
That way you won't miss any important emails, updates, or even two-step verification codes sent by email if you've enabled that option for some of your online accounts.
Download your Gmail data
You will also need to download your Gmail data. Otherwise, you will lose access to all your Gmail data once your Gmail account is deleted. To download your data, please follow the steps below:
- Open “Gmail -> Manage your Google account -> Data and privacy -> Download your data” or simply visit the page.
- Click "Uncheck All", then scroll down to "Mail" and select the checkbox.
- Select between "Multiple formats" and "All mail data included". The latter was chosen for this tutorial. It includes all messages in Mail, which means you don't need to manually delete Gmail emails.
You can also select the labels or folders you want to export by unchecking the “Include all messages in mail” box and checking the appropriate boxes. Click "OK" when done.
- Scroll to the bottom of the dialog and click "Next step".
- Select the delivery method, frequency, file type and size as desired, then click "Create Export".
Your export will start now. Note that this process can take hours or days, depending on the size of your data, and can also be done on your mobile following the same process. You will receive an email when it is completed.
What happens after you delete your Gmail account
After deleting your email account, your email and mail settings will be deleted and you will no longer have access to the deleted Gmail account. Your Google account will still be intact, as will your account activity and purchases made on Google Play.
More importantly, you can recover your deleted Gmail account if you decide.
How to delete your Gmail account on the desktop
- Log in to Gmail, click on your avatar at the top right and select "Manage your Google account".
- Click on "Data and Privacy" in the left side panel.
- Scroll to the bottom until you reach the "Download or delete your data" box. Click "Delete a Google service". You will be asked to log into your account to verify your identity.
- Once logged in, you will see a list of Google services attached to your account that can be deleted. Click the trash can icon next to "Gmail".
- Enter an email address when prompted so your other Google accounts (Drive, Docs, etc.) can stay active. Your alternate email address cannot be another Gmail address.
- You will receive an email at the alternate address you entered asking you to click on a link and confirm that you really want to permanently delete your Gmail account.
- Click the link and review the warning message.
- If you still want to proceed with deleting your Gmail account, select the checkbox at the bottom of the dialog box and click "DELETE GMAIL".
How to delete your Gmail account on Android or iOS
You can also delete your Gmail account on your Android or iOS device by following the same basic procedure.
- Open the Gmail app, tap your profile picture, then tap "Manage your Google Account".
- On the next screen, tap "Data & Privacy".
- Scroll down and tap "Delete a Google service". On iOS, you can go to myaccount.google.com.
- Log into your account and tap the trash icon next to Gmail.
- Tap the "Select" drop-down menu to select how to sign in to Google after deleting Gmail, then tap "NEXT".
- Enter an alternate email address and tap “SEND VERIFICATION MAIL”, review the information in the dialog box, then tap “GOT”.
- Open the “Confirm Gmail Deletion” message in your alternate email address and tap the link.
- Review the warning message and check the confirmation checkbox at the end, then tap “DELETE GMAIL”.
That's all! You will no longer have access to your Gmail inbox.
How to recover a deleted Gmail account
For a limited time, two to three weeks after cancellation, Google will allow you to recover your Gmail account in its entirety. Later, even if you will still be able to restore your Gmail address with your old username, all emails will disappear.
- To recover your deleted Gmail account, go to mail.google.com and log in with your alternate email address as your username but use your deleted Gmail account password.
- You will be asked to add the deleted Gmail account back to your Google account.
- Review the information and click "Submit".
- You will be asked to enter your phone number to verify your account. Do this and select how you would like to receive the code, then click "Continue".
- Enter the 6-digit verification code you received and click "Continue". Your Gmail account will be restored.