Apps Software

Why has Gmail stopped working with my email software?

Gmail on computer screen
Mail out: Gmail may stop working with certain apps

You’ve enjoyed years of trouble-free motoring and have awoken to find that your Gmail password is throwing up errors in your email software. Don’t panic, you’re not the only one. Google has changed how it interacts with certain third-party applications, but luckily we’ve got a few suggestions on how to jump through Google’s hoops and stop your email software rejecting your Gmail password.

Why has Gmail stopped working?

Screenshot of Google warning

From 30 May 2022, Google is turning off access to certain third-party apps which use Google sign-in. Prior to this date, Gmail users accessing a non-Gmail email client (such as Thunderbird), would be presented with Google sign-in during setup, to authorise Gmail to function with Thunderbird.

As technology, security and software standards evolved, Google allowed users to enable access to what it deemed to be “less secure apps” via the Google account settings. Google has now removed the less secure apps feature, ending Gmail access to selected email apps.

However, if you’re thinking that Gmail still works with your ancient version of Outlook, that’s probably because Google Workspace or Google Cloud Identity customers are not yet affected by this change. It is going to happen, so be ready. 

How do I make Gmail work with my email software?

Updating your email software is certainly worth considering. Although there’s comfort in clinging to a trusty software setup, technological changes will happen which we have no control over. Investigate if your email software has an updated version. If you’ve not tried the Gmail web interface for a few years, then give it a whirl as its far more usable than it used to be.

The other way to continue using your archaic software is to set up an App Password. This can be found in the Security section of your Google account settings.

Google Account Security screenshot.

This option is only available when two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled (read this article if you’re not sure what 2FA is). App Passwords grant access to selected parts of your Google account with programs that don’t support 2FA.

Gmail app password settings

Under Select App, select which part of Google you wish to grant access to and then click Select Device to choose a device. To continue using Gmail on my venerable version of Outlook 1997, I selected Mail from Select App and then Other (Custom name) from Select Device (allowing me to customise my rule’s name).

Google generates a 16-digit code, which will bypass your account’s 2FA, granting access to your account. Use this 16-digit code as the password in your email software instead of your actual Google password.

App Passwords are a handy work-around when passwords and programs don’t mix. We’ve focussed on email, but we can also use them for other scenarios. Another use would be giving outdated editing software upload access to a YouTube account. So, if your software no longer accepts your Google password, App Passwords could be the solution.

How do you recall a Gmail email?

About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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