In 2006, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL were the top three email domains. These days, Gmail and Outlook top that list, but it’s highly possible that you still have an active — if not actively used — AOL, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail account sitting around collecting dust and junk emails. Learn how to delete old email addresses and forget about them for good.
Before you begin trying to delete an old account, check to see if it even exists. AOL Mail will deactivate an account not logged into for 90 days and delete it after 180 days. Although Hotmail was phased out in 2013, users could still access their email accounts using Outlook.com on their computers — but Microsoft will permanently delete a Windows Live Hotmail account after 360 days of inactivity. Yahoo Mail periodically deactivates unused accounts, as well.
However, Consumer Reports stated that Verizon is selling AOL and Yahoo, which the telecommunications conglomerate purchased in 2015 and 2017. Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm, is purchasing them (and the consumer data that goes along with them) for $5 billion, making it a practical time to close those old accounts if you have concerns about data privacy.
If your old email account is still active or you are unsure, but you can still log in using your old email address and password, you can take steps to close that account permanently. Since every email provider has its own process for canceling email accounts, the method can vary depending on the service. You may also want to consider downloading the data you want to keep before closing the account. Following are the basic steps on how to delete old email addresses in AOL, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail.
How To Delete Old Email Addresses In AOL
For AOL accounts, you can request a download of your data by going to Manage Your Information > Download and view your data and selecting Download My Data. Choose the data you want to include and provide the email address where you want to receive the download information and select Request Download. It is important to note that it can take up to 30 days for the download to become available.
To delete an AOL email account, go to the Account Termination Page and log in using your old email address and password. Read the information about closing your account and, if you wish to proceed, select Continue delete my account. Confirm your identity by entering your old email address again and select Yes, terminate this account. AOL will reactivate your account if you sign in to it within 30 days of closing it.
How To Delete Old Email Addresses In Yahoo Mail
Yahoo also provides an option that enables you to request a download of your data. The steps to do so are nearly identical to those in AOL and can also take 30 days to process. To close your Yahoo email account, log in on the Yahoo account termination page. Read the information about closing your account and, if you wish to proceed, select Continue delete my account. Confirm your identity by entering your old email address again and select Yes, terminate this account. You can reactivate your account by signing in within 30 days of closing it.
How To Delete Old Email Addresses In Hotmail, Gmail And Other Email Services
Most email service providers offer an option to download your data before canceling your account. In Hotmail and other Microsoft email accounts, such as Outlook, Live and MSN email, you can save the files directly from those services. In Gmail, go to Google Takeout, where you can export a copy of the content in your Google Account. Other email services often have an export option that allows you to export a copy of your information, such as emails and contacts.
To close a Microsoft account such as a Hotmail email address, sign in to the account on the Close your account page. Read the checklist to make sure you are ready to close the account, select the checkboxes acknowledging you are aware of what will happen when you delete the account (such as losing access to certain applications and services), choose a reason for closing the account and then select Mark account for closure. You can recover the account by signing in within 60 days of closing it.
To close an old Gmail account, log in through myaccount.google.com and go to Data & personalization > Privacy & personalization > Download, delete, or make a plan for your data > Delete your account. Follow any remaining steps to delete your email address. For other email services, check the Settings menu for a Cancel option, or search the Help section.