What Happens When You Close a Gmail Account?
By Aaron Charles
Closing a Gmail account might be a bigger deal than you think. Some services, such as Facebook or other email clients, perhaps allow you to close and reinstate your account with relative ease. But ending a Gmail account is a different matter. Moreover, the manner in which you close your Gmail account could interrupt other Google services that would interfere with your business routine.
Whether you use a run-of-the-mill Gmail account or Gmail via Google Apps for Business, the end result from closing your account, according to Google staff, appears to be the same: it's a done deal. It's permanent and you will not be able to use that account or username again. All of your messages, contacts and file attachments will be lost. Closing your account will not absolve you, though, from paying any money owed to Google for Gmail service.
There are two main ways to close your Gmail account, each with different auxiliary consequences. You can choose to close only your Gmail account but still keep your Google account, including access to Google Drive, Google+ and other services you may use for your business. In this case you would have to submit an email address from another provider to serve as your Google account username. Or you can remove your entire Google account. The closure of your Gmail account will be just as permanent no matter which method you choose.
There are cases, though, when Gmail account holders have had "closer's remorse" or had deleted their Gmail account by mistake. If this happens to you, there is a sliver of hope. Google staff says that it may take up to 60 days for a Gmail account to be removed completely from Google's active servers. In general, though, you can no longer retrieve accounts after only a few weeks. But still, there is that small window of time when you may be able to retrieve your Gmail account. For that to happen you must contact Google's customer service team (see Resources).
To close your Gmail or entire Google account, first sign in to your Gmail account. Click the gear icon and click "Settings." Click "Accounts and Import" and select "Other Google Account Settings." Click "Products" and select the "Edit" link next to the "Your Products" heading. Click either "Remove Gmail Permanently" or "Close Account and Delete All Services and Info Associated With It" and follow the prompts.
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."