Inactive accounts

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3 mins
Category
Combine or delete account

On 30 April 2022, our updated inactive account policy came into effect for everyone on a Proton Free plan.

What happens when you’re inactive

If you have been inactive on Proton Mail for one year (12 months) or more, access to your account and all data associated with it may be removed. 

If you have been inactive on all Proton services for one year, we will give you advance notice. 

You can always avoid having your account removed by: 

  • Logging in to Proton Mail on our web or mobile apps
  • Upgrading to a paid Proton Mail plan

If you are or have been a paid Proton subscriber at any point in time, your account will permanently be considered active. Anyone that has ever paid for a Proton plan is exempt from this policy.

How to stay active on these products

You are considered active if you log in and use our services once a year. Simply logging in to Proton Mail on our web or mobile apps at least once a year is enough.

If you are already logged in, you should use one of our products at least once a year (for example, access your inbox, read an email, connect to a VPN server, etc.). 

Activity is considered by account, not by email address. Keeping an active account ensures that any email addresses you created for that account (@proton.me, @pm.me, etc.) also remain active.

When does this inactive account policy go into effect?

In our Terms and(new window) Conditions(new window), we have always reserved the right to deactivate inactive free accounts after three months, but we never enforced this policy. 

As of 30 April 2022, we will begin enforcing the inactive account policy outlined here.

Frequently asked questions

Can someone else take over my email address after it was deactivated?

No. For example: You’re on a Proton Free plan and your email address is alice@proton.me. If your Proton Mail account is inactive for 12 months or longer, we may deactivate it. This means you will no longer be able to access your account. No one will be able to use alice@proton.me either.

I don’t know if I can stay active once every year. What should I do?

We understand that sometimes events can keep you away from your devices for an extended time. That’s why we set a one-year period before your account is considered inactive instead of the original three-month period we had in Proton Mail’s Terms and Conditions.

Additionally, if you currently have or ever had a paid subscription at any point in time, your account will never be deactivated. If you ever paid for a Proton plan, you are exempt from this inactivity policy, even if you currently have a Free plan.

Why can’t I reclaim my email after it was deactivated?

When offering new email domains such as @proton.me, in the interest of our users, we want to:

  • Ensure that a diverse choice of email addresses is available.
  • Protect our users by preventing different people from sharing the same username on different domains. For example, there should never be 2 different users owning john.smith@proton.me and john.smith@protonmail.com. This helps prevent impersonation attempts.
  • Manage our resources, as offering free email addresses that are never used is unsustainable.

To guarantee the above, we now enforce this inactive accounts policy and prevent the reactivation of existing addresses.

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