How Long Before a Yahoo! Account Goes Inactive?

By Laurel Storm

Like many free Web-based email services, Yahoo has a predetermined length of time after which unused accounts become inactive and all their contents are deleted. Any messages sent to an inactive address bounce back to the sender. Knowing what Yahoo counts as an unused account and how often you need to log in to keep your account active will help ensure you don't lose any data.

Time Limit

A Yahoo account is automatically declared inactive and deactivated after a minimum of six months have passed since the last time the account owner logged in. For every year the account has existed, two additional months are added to this time period. For example, if you've had a Yahoo account for two years, you need to log in at least once every ten months to keep it from being deactivated.

Login Types

Although you can log in to your Yahoo account in several different ways, including checking your mail from a mobile app or through a stand-alone program installed on your computer, most of these methods won't prevent your account from being deactivated. The only way to log in that counts in terms of activity is doing so through Yahoo's website.

Yahoo Mail Plus

If you have important data stored in your email account but you know you are going to be unable to log in to it frequently enough to keep it from being deactivated, consider signing up for Yahoo's paid-for version of their email service, Yahoo Mail Plus. As of the time of writing, the service costs $19.99 a year; as long as you keep your subscription to the service active, your account will never be flagged as inactive.

Reactivating Your Account

If your Yahoo account has been deactivated due to inactivity, you can attempt to reactivate it by signing in and following the on-screen prompts. If your account has been inactive for longer than 90 days, however, it may not be possible to recover. Even if you manage to recover your account, it is likely that all information you had stored in it, including contacts, folders and saved emails, will be unrecoverable.