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Office 365, Group Expiration Policy

Activity-based expiration policy for Office 365 groups will delete groups after prolonged periods of inactivity.
Policy went into effect October 1, 2020

What Changed

Technology Services has implemented 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. When the group nears the expiration date, it can be renewed either manually by the owner or automatically based on user activity. Office 365 groups will be monitored by a Microsoft 365 service for user-based activity.

Activity-based automatic renewal

Groups can be automatically renewed based on whether there has been recent activity. This feature may eliminate the need for manual action by group owners since it is based on user activity in groups.
About 30 days prior to the expiration date, the system will monitor for various user activities. If user activity is detected, the group will be automatically renewed, and the owner will not get any renewal emails or notifications.
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 there is no group activity around 30 days prior to the expiration date, the owners will get renewal notifications and emails.
If the system does not detect any user activities or illicit a response from the group owners during the 30 days prior to expiration, then the group will expire. If the group expires, then it will be deleted, along with any associated Teams, Planner, and SharePoint resources that were created along with that group.

Notifications and Emails

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 the 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 taken by the group owner, then there will be a final warning sent 1 day before the group expires.
Each of these warnings will give the group owner the option to renew the Office 365 group 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.
Notifications will become available in Outlook and the Teams client about 30 days prior to the expiration date.

Expiration notice via email:
Warning message indicating Office 365 group will expire

Expiration notice via Teams:
Teams Notification


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. The renewal button will become available in Outlook and the Teams client about 30 days prior to the expiration date.

Teams Renewal Button

  • 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. Microsoft Teams depend on Office 365 groups, which makes Teams subject to the expiration policy as well.

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.  

KeywordsOffice 365 Group Expiration Policy Microsoft Teams SharePoint renew   Doc ID103884
OwnerOffice 3.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2020-07-10 15:54:19Updated2023-11-28 11:13:49
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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