How to Delete Your Google+ Content or Profile

While it is important to be aware of your internet paper trails, it is also helpful to know how to obliterate them (at least those under your control).

Before following the steps below to delete your Google+ content (or your entire Google+ profile), we recommend downloading a copy for personal reference first.

When to Delete Your Google+ Content

We recommend deleting your Google+ content if:

  • It reflects poorly on your online reputation
  • It runs contrary to the online reputation you wish to build (e.g. it is full of posts about knitting when you want to frame yourself as a leading expert in aviation)
  • It includes potentially-incriminating information (though remember that you can also delete individual posts)

When to Delete Your Google+ Profile

It may be appropriate to delete your entire Google+ Profile if:

  • You have another Google+ profile that you maintain regularly and the Google+ profile in question is out of date and in a state of disrepair (though you might also just make that old profile point to your new one via the “About” section and make everything else private)
  • The Google+ profile was never populated with basic information (e.g. a profile photo, basic biographical information)
  • The Google+ profile contains public information and is associated with a business account for a company you are going to leave (you might benefit from deleting the profile before you lose control over it entirely)

Downsides of Deleting Your Google+ Content or Profile

Before deleting your Google+ content, we recommend considering the potential negative consequences:

  • Lost photos and data
  • Less information about you online (which might make it harder for others to learn more about you, understand who you are, discover your work, and understand what they might expect from you)
  • Loss of demonstrated authorship in search results should you have associated some of your online content with your Google+ profile
  • Decreased functionality of some of Google’s companion products
  • No more ability to use the “sign in with Google” feature with third party apps
  • Loss of YouTube comments and contacts, and the privatization of your YouTube videos (unless you un-link your accounts first)

What to Do Before Deleting Your Google+ Profile or Content

Google Takeout Choose ServicseBefore you delete your Google+ content, we recommend downloading it through Google Takeout.

To do so:

  1. Visit Google Takeout
  2. Choose the “Select Services” option
  3. Select Google+ and/or Google Profile-related services you would like to back up
  4. We recommend including your Google Profile, your Google+ photos, your +1s, your Google+ circles, and any Google+ pages you have created
  5. Click “create archive”
  6. Wait for the archive to be created
  7. Click the download button (and if prompted, re-enter your Google account password)
  8. Store the information in a safe location; we recommend saving one copy on an external harddrive and another in a cloud storage service

Having a private copy of your past activity means you will at least have some record of it and a reference point should you ever need to recover a particular detail.

How to Delete Your Google+ Content

Change Google+ Account SettingsTo delete only the content associated with your Google+ profile:

  1. Visit Google+
  2. Click on your icon at the top right of the page
  3. Click on the “Account” link
  4. Select “Google+” in the menu to the left
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and follow the link under the “Disable Google+” section
  6. Select the “Delete Google+ Content” radio button
  7. Read through the list of ramifications of your action (pictured below)- CAREFULLY!
  8. Check the box indicating your awareness that the content cannot be restored
  9. Click on the “remove selected services” button at the bottom of the page
  10. You may be prompted to re-enter your password
  11. Congratulations- your content has been removed!

Delete Google+ Content

How to Delete Your Google+ Profile

  1. Follow steps one through five above
  2. Check the “Delete your entire Google profile” radio button
  3. Carefully read through the process that will follow (pictured below)
  4. Optionally indicate whether you would also like to unfollow people on other Google products
  5. Check the box indicating your awareness that the content profile be restored
  6. Click on the “Remove selected services box”
  7. You may need to re-enter your password, then your profile will be deleted

Delete Your Google+ Profile