What Are Retention Rules and Holds in Google Vault

Quick and easy-to-follow introduction for Google Workspace administrators

Introduction to Google Vault retention and holds: getting started

  • Retention and holds are two different settings you can configure in Google Vault to ensure you retain user data for as long as you need, even after users remove it from their accounts.

Google Vault retention

  • Retention ensures that your users’ data will be retained in Google Vault even after users delete it from Google services such as Gmail or Drive. 

When to set up retention

How long does retention last

  • After the retention period passes, any data protected by it gets permanently removed from Google’s servers.
  • You can also set retention indefinitely to keep users’ data in Vault as long as they exist as users in your account.
  • Once you delete a user, you also delete their Vault license, releasing their data from Vault. Make sure to export data before deleting users, as shown here.

How to set up retention

Google Vault holds

  • You can also set holds – they are similar to retention rules but have a higher priority, meaning that a hold will override any of your default and custom retention rules. 
  • You place a hold on specific users or OUs, and they always retain data indefinitely. 
  • ​For a hold to work on a user, you must have a Vault license assigned to the user and keep the user in your account (do not delete it – if you want to deactivate the account but still keep data in Vault, suspend the user instead, as shown here

When to set up holds

  • When specific data is really important and you need to retain it no matter what, you should create a hold
  • When you want to retain data without setting up a retention rule

How long do holds last

  • It can take up to 48 hours for expired messages to be removed from Gmail and up to 15 days for expired files to be removed from Drive.

How to set up a hold

That's all! You reached the end of the article. Continue to:

If you find this useful, share and help others!


Submit Feedback

Think we could do something better or just want to tell us how happy you are with the site? We would love to hear from you – your feedback is more valuable than you can imagine.

Fill out this form, and we will get back to you.

Report An Issue With Workspace123

Are you running into an issue with the site? Maybe you found a broken link, or something else is wrong?

Fill out this form to let us know, and we will address it as soon as possible.

Please make sure to be very specific and add as many details as possible.

Missing Content

Our goal is to run the number one site in the world for you to get help with and learn how to use Google Workspace. This can’t be so if there is any missing information.

If you believe we need to add something, fill out this form, and we will do our best to add any missing content as soon as possible.

This site uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Click here to see our Cookies Policy.

Be the first to know

You can stay on top of news and updates in Google Workspace and Workspace123 and get special offers by subscribing to our newsletter.

Subscribe by email for news and updates