We get it. You want to get rid of YouTube and you want to do it right now. We’re not here to judge (although those videos from the company party you uploaded probably didn’t help your career any), we’re just here to help. It’s not like you need a YouTube account to watch videos anyway, so let’s get on with the account deletion!
You can go two ways: delete all your Google accounts or delete just your YouTube account. However, you may not have a “YouTube account” (also known as a YouTube channel). As YouTube is now owned by Google newer users need a Google account to post videos on YouTube. Users with a YouTube account from the olden days (May 2009 or earlier) have since been asked to merge their YouTube and Google accounts (or as the company now insists on calling it, your Google+ account, even if you totally eschew that social networking aspect of Google). But perhaps you want to kill that YouTube info without actually losing your access to Gmail, Blogger, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more. We’ll help you with that too.
GO NUCLEAR ON YOUR ACCOUNTS
It’s possible that you want to take the nuclear approach. To do so, simply go to the Google Accounts “Edit Services” page. You can’t delete your YouTube account alone here, but you can click “Close account and delete all services and info associated with it” to obliterate your entire Google existence. That means all your videos—and all your Gmail messages, Blogger posts, uploaded Picasa pictures, Google+ comments, and more.
Before you go nuclear, make a stop at Google Dashboard. Here you can view a rundown of every single bit of information associated with your Google account. There’s likely much more than you imagined. You’ll see how many videos you’ve uploaded, a link to your favorite videos (if you marked any as such), even your complete viewing history. Perhaps all you need for peace of mind is to surf that last link and clear your history to avoid incrimination.
Notice the links to the right on that page. You can also go in and delete the history of searches performed on YouTube, or set all your likes and subscriptions to private (under Manage privacy settings). You can unhook your social networks like Facebook and Twitter from YouTube (via the Manage activity and sharing link), but that’s not the link you use to get unhooked from Google+; you’ll find that under Manage YouTube account.
DELETE JUST YOUR YOUTUBE ACCOUNT
If you never associated a Google+ account with your YouTube channel, you’ve got it easy. Go to http://www.youtube.com/account and click the Advanced link under Account Information. You’ll see a big button on the next page that says “Close account.” Click it and your videos and YouTube history (but not your Google history) will be toast.
Google, however, forced just about everyone with a YouTube channel and a Google account to associate the two back in 2011. (If you haven’t used your YouTube account since 2011 and want to associate it with a Google+ account, go to Account Settings and click “Link channel with Google+.” Now your full Google+ name will appear on your videos, instead of your YouTube ID. )
To delete only your YouTube info you need to separate your accounts. On the same page, look for the link that ends with “disconnect Google+ profile.”
Clicking will either let you return to your pre-2009 YouTube username or create a brand-new YouTube username that has nothing to do with Google+. Then you can follow the steps mentioned above: click Advanced and “Close account” to be done with YouTube forever.
Seriously, it’s forever. Once you click that button you can’t get the videos back or recreate that account, the subscriptions to it, or the comments left on it.
By the way, this separation works for killing your Google+ account but keeping YouTube as well. Separate them, then close your Google+ account by going to Account Settings and scrolling to the bottom of the page, then clicking “Delete profile and remove related Google+ features.” It will keep your YouTube channel alive under your new, separate username. You can always associate it with a different Google+ account later.