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How Can I Delete an Old Account If I Forgot My Email and Password?

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How can I delete my old TikTok account if I forgot my email and password?

You probably can’t.

While the original question refers to a specific online service — TikTok — the answer is pretty much the same for all of them.

Your options are few to non-existent.

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If you can’t log in, you can’t delete

Login and Password In order to delete an account, you need to prove you are the rightful owner of that account.

Think about it: if that weren’t the case, anyone could delete any account at any time. That just doesn’t make sense. Only the owner of an account can delete it.

How do you prove you’re the owner? By logging in.

It’s that simple. If you can’t log in to the account, you can’t delete the account.

Login recovery

All instructions to delete an account begin with instructions to recover your access to the account. You do that by following the “Forgot my password” or “Can’t log in” or equivalent link on the service’s login page.

Follow the instructions to recover access to your account. Once you have access, you can delete the account if you still want to.

Most of those instructions begin with a request that you provide your email address. If you can’t remember that, you have problems.

Email + password = identity

Your email address combined with your password is, as far as the service is concerned, your identity. If you don’t know your email address, then you don’t know who you are — at least not in a way you can prove to the service in question.

You’ve lost your identity.

Without it, there is no way to prove you are who you say you are.

There’s no way to prove you have the right to delete the account.

Straws to grasp at

Some services have additional recovery methods, but almost all must be set up beforehand and kept current.

You might be able to get a recovery code sent to an alternate email address or phone, if the service supports that.

You might be able to get friends on the service to somehow confirm you are who you say you are and should be allowed access to the account — if the service supports that.

The bottom line, however, is that there is no magical back door. All the recovery options start in the same place: “Forgot my password” or its equivalent.

Follow that path to recover your account. If you can’t — if none of the options work for you for whatever reason — then the account is no longer yours. Abandon it and get on with your life.

Prevention

In addition to getting on with your life, it might be wise to learn from this event so as not to repeat it. That means:

  • Never forget your email address. Save it someplace safe if it’s not something you use often. Use a password vault like LastPass to remember for you. (Just don’t forget your master password — that cannot be recovered.)
  • Don’t let your email address expire from lack of use. Log in once in a while to make sure it still works and is current. Nothing’s worse than remembering it only to realize you no longer have access to it.
  • Don’t forget your password. Use that password vault.
  • Set up recovery information like alternate email addresses and phone numbers, and keep them current.
  • Take it all seriously.

That last point might be the most important. I hear this scenario most often from folks — often kids — who haven’t yet learned how important all this is, and have just been setting up an account “for fun”. Eventually that “for fun” account becomes important to them, and then — poof — something happens and they lose access.

Forever.

Don’t let that be you.

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Leo

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Posted: April 24, 2020 in: Passwords
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/121900
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

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