What happens to your data after your death? On Gmail, it is possible to program the automatic self-destruction of your account after one or more months of inactivity. The feature is now available to everyone.
Prepare your account for the day you die
Death. It’s not something we like to talk about or even bring up, but managing online data after a death is a real societal issue. GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) has a huge amount of information about you on its servers.
This raises many questions. What digital legacy do you want to leave after your death? Do you want to entrust documents (photos, images, messages) to your loved ones and family? Do you want your social accounts to disappear or, on the contrary, do you want your digital life to continue beyond your physical existence?
The American search giant has recently put in place various tools to manage your accounts after your death. For example, you can program your Gmail inbox to automatically delete itself. This way, your personal information will remain secret ad vitam aeternam.
Google’s email service also offers you the possibility to give control of your accounts to a trusted person. You may store important documents (bills, photos) that you do not want to disappear.
Activate the self-destruction of your Gmail account
Your Google account contains thousands of more or less important information. What will happen to all this data after your death? Fortunately Google offers a tool to automatically delete all your data after your death, including your Gmail address.
Obviously Google is unable to predict the date of your death. On the other hand, you will be able to configure the duration of inactivity of your account (absence of connection) before this one does not destroy itself.
- Open your web browser
- Go on the site My Google account accessible at this address: https://www.google.com/account/about/?hl=en
- Click on the blue Go to My Google Account button
- Enter your login information (Gmail address + password)
- Press the Data and Privacy tab
- Scroll down until you see the more options section
- Select the Plan your digital heritage
- Press the start button
- Choose the duration of inactivity (by default this is set to 3 months)
- You can change it to up to 18 months
- Don’t forget to enter a valid phone number (if you change it you will have to remember to change it)
- Also make sure that your email address is correctmake sure your email address is correct
- Click on the next button
- Then choose the option you want to delete your Google account completely and automatically or let a relative recover your data
You will be able to choose on the next screen, the people to notify in case of death and select the data they will have access to (Gmail, YouTube, Photos, Chrome history etc…). Important detail, this contact will have 3 months to recover your data. Once this period of time has elapsed, all the information will be deleted.
Note that in case of inactivity, Google will send you an email and an SMS one month before your account becomes officially inactive. Then, you will be able to do what is necessary to prevent your Google account from being blocked.