How to Set an Auto-Reply for an Inactive Gmail Account


While there are several reasons you might abandon an old Gmail account, this can cause concern for those who are used to emailing you with it. Without a response, people might assume that something bad happened to you.

Thankfully, there is a way to let other users know that your email address isn't being used anymore. To accomplish this, you have to set an auto-reply for your inactive Gmail account.

To set an auto-reply for your inactive account, you will need to update your Inactive Account Manager. Here's how to get it set up properly.

When Is a Gmail Account Counted as Inactive?

By default, if you have not logged into to your Google Account for more than 24 months at a time, Google will suspect that you are no longer using it. This includes your non-Gmail log-in history that is linked to your Google account, such as YouTube, Chat, Search, Maps, and so on.

Gmail on Laptop

Alternatively, if you want to set this to an earlier date, you may also change how long before Google tags your entire account as inactive. Under your Inactive Account Manager, you'll be able to select either three, six, 12, or 18 months as waiting periods.

Related: What Happens to Your Gmail Account When You Die? Here's How to Control It

Initially, Google will attempt to contact you through your alternative contact methods to remind you to access your account to prevent any form of deletion. However, if you do not respond, Google will contact your Inactive Account Manager regarding your account instead.

Meanwhile, it's possible for you to set an auto-reply message, so anyone who emails you receives a message regarding your Gmail account status. While you're at it, there are other things you can do to manage multiple Gmail accounts as well.

If you want to prepare for the event that you may lose access to your Gmail account or be incapable of logging into it, you can prepare an auto-reply email to direct others to alternative contact methods. Here's how to set it.

How to Set an Auto-Reply for an Inactive Gmail Account

To set an auto-reply for an inactive Gmail account, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open your Google account settings.
  2. Click Data & Privacy.
  3. Under More options, select Make a plan for your digital legacy.
  4. On the Inactive Account Manager page, you can personalize your legacy settings for your Google account.
  5. Under Plan what happens to your data if you can't use our Google Account anymore, press Start.
    Google Inactive Account Manager
  6. Choose an option between 3, 6, 12, or 18 months.
  7. Enter your alternative contact details, such as mobile number and email address.
  8. Press Next.
  9. Click Set AutoReply.
    Set Autoreply on Google Inactivity Manager
  10. Type your preferred email subjects and message in the pop-up box.
  11. If you want only your contacts to receive your message, check the box next to Only send a response to people in my Contacts.
  12. Choose Save to confirm your auto-reply.
  13. On the same page, you can click Add Person to set a contact to be your Inactivity Account Manager if you do not respond.
    Confirm person to notify of inactive account manager
  14. Once you are happy with your auto-reply message, click Next.
  15. If you want to delete your Google Account after three months of inactivity, you can toggle on the button next to Yes, delete my inactive Google Account.

Remember to Let People Know Your New Email

While there are several reasons why you may have abandoned an old Gmail account, this may cause concern for those who are used to emailing you with it. After all, email may be the only channel of communication that you have with some of your personal or professional contacts.

To prevent any miscommunications in the future, create an auto-reply for your Gmail account. With this, you include information such as alternative methods wherein they can contact you, or people they can get in touch with regarding your absence.


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