Gmail, also known as the Google email account, has by now become one of the most popular email clients across the globe. However, it wasn’t always the case. In the early 2000s, the leading free email clients were hotmail and AOL. Only eventually Google saw an opportunity to convert their growing search audience into registered users — a brilliant stepping stone to what would become an entire ecosystem of personal data.
As the world of email and high-speed internet became commoditized, competing services and products flooded the market, taking users away from Google, with some even deleting Gmail accounts altogether. To this day, there are plenty of reasons to switch email providers or just let old email addresses slowly gather dust. Below is a rundown on how to delete a Gmail account and what to use instead if you’re looking for a change.
Why Would I Delete My Google Account?
As Google’s ecosystem started to dominate the internet, it became a contentious topic for many who were worried that their personal data was being housed and tracked by one of the world’s leading corporations. Additionally, some users started to experience a more natural crossover with other growing ecosystems, such as Microsoft or Apple, where having a Gmail or Google Account just didn’t fit in.
Other users had specific security concerns, found better-looking email clients, or got tired of managing multiple email addresses and wanted to simplify. During the surge of email switching, lots of users were left wondering how to close a Gmail account. Thankfully, it’s not difficult — but it’s important to consider the full process before starting.
Back up before you delete Gmail account
When you close your Gmail account, all of your emails will be deleted permanently and you’ll no longer have access to them at any stage. So it’s worth creating a backup download of your entire Google and email history first. This is especially important if you have invoices, receipts, or other significant records living in your inbox. To create an archive before deleting Gmail account:
Log into your Google Account settings
Click on Data & Personalization
Scroll down and click on “Download your data”
Review the list of services and click Next
Choose an option for how to receive your data. The easiest would be to get a download link.
Leave “One-time archive,” .zip, and default Archive Size selected
Click “Create archive”
When your archive is ready, Google will email you a link to download the files, but note that depending on how many files you have this could take from minutes to even days.
Also, if you’re planning to download the files to your Mac, make sure you have enough free space on your hard drive first. It’s best to upload files directly to a cloud-storage provider in case your local disk happens to fail.
How to delete Gmail account or other Google services
Once you’ve successfully backed up your Google data, you might be wondering: How do I delete a Gmail account? First, it’s important to recognize that deleting Gmail account steps are not reversible, so you need to be 100% sure that it’s the right choice before you begin. If it is, here’s how to delete a Gmail account, including some bonus tips for how to remove a Google Account as well:
Go to Data & Personalization in Google settings
In the section called “Download, detele, or make a plan for your data,” click on “Delete a service or your account”
Choose “Delete a Google Service.” Note that if you wanted to delete your entire Google Account, including all services in use, you can select “Delete your Google Account.”
Select the trash bin icon next to Gmail
Send Verification Email, which will go to the email address you enter, so make sure you have access to it
Click on the link about deleting your Gmail in the message of the email
Click Delete Gmail. Note that you can’t undo this step.
Now that the process is complete, you should take a moment to review your other security and privacy settings for both Google and other major account providers — it’s a useful exercise that only takes a few minutes, but makes a lot of sense for your privacy and making sure you’re not sharing anything you don’t want.
What to use after deleting Google accounts?
After learning how to remove an account from Google and subsequently deleting all of your Gmail data, your old email address will bounce or show delivery failure if someone tries to send a message to it. So let your main contacts know that you’ve moved to a new or different email address as soon as possible.
If you deleted Gmail but kept other Google services, you can still access them through the new email address you attached to your Google Account during the delete Gmail process.
In any case, you might be searching for alternatives that aren’t coming from the Google ecosystem. And, the good news is, there are some strong contenders depending on your reason for switching.
For example, users who are concerned about security and privacy may consider Canary Mail — an email client that has integrated end-to-end encryption, so only you and your recipient can read the contents of your messages. The outbound message is encrypted by the sender side and then decrypted by the recipient to ensure that no intermediary can scan or see private communications — not even your internet provider!
In addition, Canary Mail has a host of other useful features, including read notifications when someone opens your email or one-click unsubscribes instead of having to find nearly invisible unsubscribe links in emails.
Another popular reason for deleting your Google Accounts is simply having too many other email addresses in use. It can be time-consuming and challenging to have multiple email clients, logins, and inboxes to manage.
That is until you try a fantastic alternative to Gmail for multiple email addresses called Unibox. It’s a beautifully designed, yet lightweight email client that supports all major email providers, but with a twist. Messages can be configured to appear like a text conversation rather than split with unseemly signatures, unnecessary details, and other extra information. The result is a more productive view of your work, with more room to think and breathe instead of drowning in the details.
Best of all, both Canary Mail and Unibox are available for a free trial through Setapp, an app platform for Mac that lets you subscribe to over 150 brilliant macOS apps. Go app-crazy during the 7-day trial and try as many apps as you can to see which ones improve your life the most. Even better, most apps on Setapp come from independent app studios, so you can double down on diversifying your online footprint away from privacy-infringing multinational corporations.