Yahoo used to be a huge player when it came to search and email. Then Google came along and changed all that. Unfortunately for Yahoo, they haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory, though. Meaning their demise has probably been worse than it could have been.
Yahoo is not the best option when it comes to your privacy and security online.
The company, now owned by Verizon Media, holds the unenviable title of falling victim to the biggest data breach in history.
Every single one of Yahoo’s 3 billion users was affected by a 2013 incident, although the full extent of the attack wasn’t admitted until four years later.
We’re talking real names, email addresses, dates of birth, and telephone numbers all getting exposed here. And that’s before we get into the risk posed to information within user emails.
It’s not just malicious hackers looking to abuse your data, though. It’s Yahoo themselves.
In 2016, it was reported that the tech dinosaur built a secret software program to search the incoming mail of every user and then provided information to U.S. intelligence agencies like the N.S.A. and the F.B.I.
We’re not done yet.
The company actually pitched an idea where they scan your emails to extract data, which would then be sold to advertisers.
I guess they figured it was a two-birds, one-stone type situation.
“We’re scanning the mail already. May as well make a profit on the data!”
Not cool, guys.
Should I delete my Yahoo account?
There are not many services where I would give such a direct answer, but the security issues the company has repeatedly faced, combined with the privacy concerns surrounding Yahoo’s questionable email-scanning practices, makes this one a no brainer.
On top of that, attempting to manage your privacy settings within the Yahoo system is a bit of a nightmare. It seems clear that they’ve tried to make things complicated to dissuade users from making an effort.
There are plenty of alternative email clients for you to consider when making the switch, too.
It is important to remember, however, that deleting your Yahoo account will not only affect your Yahoo Mail account.
You’ll also lose access to all your data and content on Yahoo’s other services. This includes Flickr photos, Yahoo Fantasy Sports teams, and Yahoo Finance portfolios.
Flickr was bought by SmugMug, so the service is no longer a Yahoo service. But the new owners have taken a long time to implement their own login system.
That new system is here, as of March 2019, but the rollout is expected to be slow and is currently only available to Flickr users who receive an invitation to try it out.
Things you need to do before you delete your Yahoo account
The time has come.
Your mind is made up and you’re settling down to hit that delete button.
But wait. Let’s not throw any proverbial babies out with Yahoo’s very dirty bathwater.
Before you delete any accounts, there are a number of steps you should take to make sure that you don’t get caught out and lose important information in the process:
1. Cancel any Yahoo subscription services
Yahoo offers several paid subscription services, such as Yahoo Mail Pro and Yahoo Finance Premium.
It’s important to cancel any subscriptions to Yahoo services before you delete your account. This will ensure you avoid any surprise charges.
There is an annoying rule here. You can only close your account if it has no remaining balance and it’s been 90 days since you’ve cancelled any subscriptions.
So, you’ll have to wait a full 3 months to delete your Yahoo account if you have any payments to scrap here.
Don’t look at me like that. I told you it was an annoying rule!
If you want to download your billing data first, you can do so by following these steps:
- Visit the Yahoo My Subscriptions page and sign in to My Subscriptions.
- Hover over My Profile and click ‘Download My Data’
- Select a verification method and enter the code you receive.
- Click ‘Download My Data’
- Select whether you want to save the file or open it in a specific program, then click OK.
2. Check through your emails & attachments
Remember: when you delete your Yahoo account, you will lose access to all the data stored on the platform.
The next step may seem obvious, but it can slip the mind very easily.
You may have some pictures and documents that you need to download, or some essential emails to hold on to.
The easiest way to deal with this is to set up a new account that you plan to use once you’re done with Yahoo. Then you can forward everything you want to keep to the new account.
3. Export your contacts
You probably have some valuable contacts saved on the platform too, especially if you’ve been using the service for a number of years.
Thankfully, it’s easy enough to export and save them:
- Navigate to the ‘Contacts’ option within your Yahoo mail account
- Go to ‘Actions’
- Hit ‘Export’
You can then export the contacts as a .csv file for future reference.
4. Remove 3rd party access
Some websites and apps use email accounts to allow for immediate access to their services.
If your Yahoo account is linked to platforms like this, you will need to change the email linked to the service in question.
Replacing the login email with a new, or secondary, email account should be straight forward and means you won’t lose access once your Yahoo account has been deleted.
5. Remove any linked child accounts
Yahoo has a special program for children under age 13. These Yahoo Child Accounts allow parents to monitor a child’s email messages and messenger contacts.
If you have any child accounts linked to your own, make sure that you delete these before taking steps to terminate your Yahoo mail account.
6. Viewing and requesting your data
This one’s an optional step.
You can choose to view and save your associated data before terminating your account.
Just follow these steps to request a download of your data:
- Visit the Privacy Dashboard page
- Click a product you use, in this case scroll down and select ‘Yahoo’
- Sign in to see your account data
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Request a download’
- Check the boxes for the product data you want to include in your download, then click ‘Next’
- Enter an email address you’d like to be notified at when the download is ready and hit ‘Download request’
It can take up to 30 days for the request to finish processing and the download to become available, which may seem like a ridiculous time to wait until you realize that…-
Nope, it’s actually ridiculous.
Once the download is ready, you’ll be notified via the email address you gave.
How to Delete Your Yahoo Account Permanently
OK, here we go. Time to get this done.
Follow these simple steps, and you can wave goodbye to Yahoo for good:
- Head to the Yahoo account termination page and sign in
- Read through the info on terminating your account, then click ‘I want to continue deleting my account’
- Enter the email address of the Yahoo account you are closing, then hit ‘Yes, I want to close this account’
Once you’ve gone through all the steps, your account has officially been deleted.
Congrats. You’ve just done yourself a big favor.
Keep in mind, though, that your account will be reactivated again if you sign in during a 30-day period after closing it.
For accounts registered in Australia, India, and New Zealand, that period is extended to 90 days.
And users from Brazil, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have to wait a whopping 180 days until their account is permanently terminated.
It’s very important not to sign in to your account during the cooldown window, as the clock resets back to zero if that happens. Meaning you’ll have to go through the whole process again.
Get it done
Invasive mail scanning and a history of dodgy security practices is not a good combination, no matter how happy you are with the service on the surface.
If you’re one of the 227 million active users with a Yahoo account, I highly recommend you take the time to migrate over to a more secure and less abusive alternative.
Are you planning to #DeleteYahoo? Or did you already jump ship? Let me know in the comments.