Office 365, Group Expiration Policy

Activity-based expiration policy for Office 365 groups will delete groups after prolonged periods of inactivity

**Policy going into effect October 1, 2020

What is Changing

Technology Services will implement an activity-based expiration policy for Office 365 groups. Security groups and distribution groups set-up in local Active Directory will not be affected by this policy. Any active groups will be automatically renewed. Groups without user activity will expire and be deleted unless the group owner chooses to renew the group. Warning messages will be sent to group owners starting at 30 days prior to the group being deleted.

What is the Expiration Policy

The expiration policy will set a group lifetime of 180 days and require user activity during the lifetime or the group will be marked for deletion. Office 365 groups will be monitored by a Microsoft 365 service for user-based activity. User-based activities include the following actions:
  • In the SharePoint site belonging to the group: a group member views, edits, downloads, moves, shares, or uploads a file.
  • In Outlook conversations: a member joins the group or interacts with a conversation (reads or replies to a conversation or likes a message in the group conversation).
  • In Teams: a member opens a channel in the team.
If none of these activities is performed during the group lifetime and the owner doesn't respond to the warning messages, then the group will expire. After group expiration, the group is deleted as well as any associated Team, Planner, and SharePoint site that was created alone with that group.


When an Office 365 group is marked for deletion, there are multiple warnings sent to the group owner. These warnings are sent via email, usually from Microsoft Online Services Team <>.
  • The first warning is sent 30 days before the group expires.
  • If there is no user activity or action taken by the group owner, then there will be another warning sent 15 days before the group expires.
  • If there is still no user activity or action take by the group owner, then there will be a final warning sent 1 day before the group expires.
Each of these warnings will be give the group owner the option to renew the Office 365group if it is still needed. If the group is no longer needed the group can be manually deleted or the warnings can simply be ignored.

Warning message indicating Office 365 group will expire


There are two methods to prevent the Office 365 group from being deleted.
  • The group owner can manually renew the group by clicking the button in the warning message
  • A member of the group can perform a monitored user activity:
    • SharePoint -- view, edit, download, move, share, or upload a file
    • Outlook -- join the group, read a group message, or write a group message
    • Teams -- interact with a Teams channel
Office 365 groups will be recoverable by the Office 365 support team for up to 30 days after they are deleted. If they have been deleted for longer than 30 days, the group will no longer be recoverable. Whenever the Office 365 group is renewed (either by clicking the renew button or some user activity is performed) the group's lifetime will be extended for another period of 180 days. 

What are Office 365 Groups

Office 365 groups are created from a variety of tools including Outlook, SharePoint, Planner, and Teams. Office 365 groups allow you to choose a set of people to collaborate with. You can use Office 365 groups to communicate with others, share files, and apply permissions to shared resources.

Who are Group Owners

When an Office 365 group is created, the person creating the group is designated as the owner. After adding members to the group, the primary owner can also promote other members to owner. We suggest that when practical, Office 365 groups have at least 2 owners. This can be important as only the group owner will receive the warning messages. In some cases the group owner may have removed themselves from the group or left the university entirely. If you find yourself a member of an Office 365 group without an owner, please contact the Office 365 support team and we can assign a new group owner. 

Where to Get Help

For assistance with Office 365 groups, please contact the support team at We can answer questions about the expiration policy, recover deleted groups, and update group owners.  

Keywords:Office 365 Group Expiration Policy Microsoft Teams SharePoint renew   Doc ID:103884
Owner:Lee A.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2020-07-10 15:54 CDTUpdated:2021-02-01 09:56 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
Feedback:  4   0