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I’m doing a bit of online spring cleaning this week. Old accounts with services I no longer use are being closed for good. It’s not necessarily a critique of these services as such, but I think that if I am no longer using a service it’s better I close the account.

Only with Evernote you cannot close your account, at least not properly, and that worries me.

The screenshot above is for the closest Evernote has to an account deletion page – but it actually describes a permanent account deactivation, rather than a deletion, and it is also a deactivation without the prospect of reactivation. Yeah, so I can prevent myself from ever having access to the account again, but Evernote still has access to all my data, indefinitely? That strikes me as a major failure.

Googling around further leads me to this Evernote support page in German (I can’t get an English version as Evernote sees I have a German IP address and thinks I therefore definitely need German language support, and doesn’t allow me to change language either from a menu or changing the URL – a further usability failure) that tells me that I need to delete each note I have saved separately, change my e-mail address listed at Evernote to one I may never then need for an account in future, and then to deactivate my account. However here too I have no idea what data, as a user, Evernote still has stored about me. And does a note deletion really mean it is deleted? Or only from my list of documents?

Now of course there must be caveats to this – if I had shared notes with others, or others had shared them with me, there must be a way to deal with this when an account is deleted. But that must be eminently solvable. As it is currently, from the user point of view, this entire process leaves a lot to be desired!


  1. Even if someone says your Account has been deleted – there is no way to know that your data hasn’t just been flagged as “inactive” or “do not show”.

    Not sure how to handle this though. External audits? Internationally? Too costly, too complicated and how big does a company even have to be to warrant this? I guess in the end we must be aware that once some information is out of our hands, it’s out of our hands.

    The usability thing though is really just that – look at the bottom right, there’s your language switch 🙂

  2. Alexandru F. Ghita

    This type of approach from software companies is ridiculous. It’s similar to Trello’s approach to not deleting boards and cards, and only archiving. This is because they say Trello is a collaborative tool and deleting boards and cards can create problems for other collaborators.

    I was actually thinking of doing the same with Evernote, but the only option I found on the forums is to submit a support ticket and ask them to delete everything.


  3. Wow. Familiar problem. Not with Evernote. I love that service to the point that I’m a paying customer. I use it extensively, and can’t imagine why you want to leave it anyway. Seriously, though: you should be able to delete your account and all the content.

    What is familiar, is that language issue. I come across it on so many services. I really don’t like it. Now, I do understand a fair bit of German, but that’s not the point. I want to choose the language, if possible. Especially for services that are originally from an English speaking country, I really am annoyed when they offer me the local language. It’s not that they don’t have it!

    By the way, how do you like your YouTube from a German IP address? As said, I was in that MOOC from Mr Alemanno, and at one point he had a Google Hangout. I wanted to join, but that’s not possible from a German IP address. Service not available in Germany. Aarghh.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I see your point about deletion of an account, and Evernote should be better at that.

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