Never too late to save yourself
If Yahoo’s clunky operation and laughably-kitschy interface weren’t enough to deter you, the recent security breach probably was. If not, there’s simply no helping you. Assuming you’re ready to transition to a slightly more reliable email provider, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before the process is complete.
Blink twice if you need help
Jumping from one email provider to another is easier said than done. Between the differences in interface, the new account creation process, the endless verification, and the mildly depressing “starting from scratch” feeling, it’s easy to see why people tend to pick an email provider and stick to it.
Unfortunately, the (not-so) recent security breach put countless users’ personal information at risk, and that should be a hard “no” in anyone’s book. It’s not just the fact that it happened (well, that too) —it’s the fact that Yahoo employees were aware of the breach for several years before the information was made public.
Companies have an obligation to put their customers’ wellbeing ahead of their own, and Yahoo failed spectacularly in that department.
Putting my burning hatred of Yahoo aside for a moment, though, let’s analyze one of its positive aspects for a second. At the time of its inception, Yahoo was a simple, alternative platform for people who were either too new to email for them to juggle the more robust MSN, or too disenchanted with the other basic email providers available.
This same simplicity is actually inherent in another common email provider: Gmail. What’s more, Gmail plugs into just about everything (seriously, if you don’t have a Gmail account yet, where have you been?). You can use a Gmail account to access Google’s sweet suite of productivity tools, log in to countless websites with the click of a button, and access Google Drive — which, for the record, is hands-down one of the best values in cloud storage on the market.
Gmail also eschews some of the more cloying attributes of Yahoo’s whiny presentation. I’ve been using Gmail for over nine years, and I can’t recall a single time I received an email from Google asking me to check out a new feature or something similar, nor has it sent me any snobby inquiries as to whether or not I’m still using my account.
By comparison, the Yahoo account I created for research a few weeks ago has dumped nearly 100 promotions, alerts, and news-related articles into my inbox despite my protests. “But Jack, you can mark those emails as spam — and Gmail gathers your data while you sleep!” Yeah, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Gmail is quietly intrusive where Yahoo has all the subtlety of a shotgun opera.
Trading a data farmer for a shinier data farmer
I’ll just assume you’re sold on the notion, so here’s how you can seamlessly transfer your Yahoo account over to your Gmail account:
1. Log in to your Gmail account (or create one).
2. Click the settings gear in the top right corner of the Gmail window.
3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab at the top of the subsequent menu.
4. Click the “Import mail and contacts” link in the second group of options.
From there, you just need to enter your Yahoo email credentials and follow the on-screen instructions to ensure that your contacts, emails, and subscriptions sync to your Gmail account.
Ta-da! Now you have an email account that won’t steal your information!
Apologies for the dark humor, but seriously — Yahoo isn’t taking any prisoners. Get out now while you still have a chance.
Of course, this process will work for most major email providers. Outlook has a similarly intuitive contact/data transfer system. If you’re absolutely not down for the Google takeover, you do have options.
A Flickr of hope
Yahoo’s account deletion page is notoriously difficult to get to before deleting your account. However, you may want to back up any photos or videos in your Flickr account (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably good to go as it is).
Keep in mind that you also should delete any photos you don’t want the public to have access to in the form of cached data. Once you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s by backing up your files and transferring your contacts, feel free to pull the trigger and delete your account if you feel called to.