What is Google Inactive Account Manager?
Google won’t automatically delete your account after you die, even if it’s been inactive for years. In the past, an inactive account was flagged by Google, and the company would delete the Gmail account that couldn’t be unlocked. Now if you die, your account will most likely hang around. Here’s a guide to using Inactive Account Manager, so you can take control of what happens to your Google account.
Planning for your death
The Inactive Account Manager allows you to share parts of your Google account data, or simply let a contact know that it’s been inactive for a certain period of time. Google are too polite to use the word “dead” in their description but, given the popularity of the company, it’s probably the only reason out there for why you’d not be surfing the net.
The Inactive Account Manager is a way for you to make sure all of your ties to Google stop once you die, or the only bits of you online are those you’d like to remain there.
You might end up living on the Google search results pages for millennia, of course, or at least until we transcend the Web as we know it.
Take a look at the Google Inactive Account Manager page here.
Why should you use Google Inactive Account Manager?
If you’re worried about your Gmail account and, along with it, any activity on the browser at all, then that’s completely valid. It’s a whole load of data.
A Google Account isn’t just a Gmail account. It’s also your browser history, your Calendar, your contacts, your Drive photos and documents, your AdSense activity, and any platforms you logged into using your Gmail account. Sometimes this adds up to what can feel like half your life’s history.
Will you be able to control your data after your account is closed?
Your digital assets and activity aren’t protected by law after you die. In the same way, Google doesn’t allow your relatives or someone close to you to manage your account after you die. While it can sometimes feel like Google has robbed you of your privacy during your lifetime, the Inactive Account Manager at least gives you some control.
How to use Google’s Inactive Account Manager
Do you remember putting down an alternative phone number and email address when you first signed up to your Gmail account? If you go up to a year without signing in, Google will first try and get hold of you that way.
Once you’re dead, though, you won’t be in a position to send Google a quick reply email. That’s why the Inactive Account Manager allows you to add up to ten contacts, along with a custom-written email and optionally given access to data.
As a last step, Google can also delete your account once any contacts have been notified.
Here’s the steps when you create an Inactive Account Manager:
- Set a “timeout period” for your account. This is the amount of time you haven’t signed into your Google account. If you’re more prone to going without the Internet for a few months at at time rather than dying, you might want to set the timeout period to its longest setting.
- Name a contact, or up to 10 contacts, that will be notified when your timeout period is up.
- You can choose to have your data deleted and from where. This’ll include your Blogger account, Contacts, Drive, Gmail, Google+ Profile, Pages and Streams, Google Voice and Youtube. You can choose to delete all of them, or pick and choose the account you’d like to remain accessible.
- You can then share whatever you didn’t decide to delete with your contact. It will only be accessible to your contact after you die.
- Alternatively, you can choose to delete and shut down everything.
Find out more
There’s a whole lot more to your digital death than just Facebook, Google and email accounts.