How to Create App Passwords for Gmail

How to Create App Passwords for Gmail

Want to set up Gmail in your email program, and it does not work? Chances are you need a special password. Find out here how to create Gmail app passwords for your email programs or services to access messages and folders in Gmail.

First, 856 Columns inside a Church within a Mosque

856 columns can be admired, of course, in Cordoba’s Mezquita. Look closer a bit at the forest, though, and you will find something peculiar: in the mosque’s older part, no two columns appear alike.

That is because most of the columns were not made for this building but reused from others—and made to fit, sometimes more, and sometimes less.

With Gmail using 2-step authentication, you cannot reuse passwords or make do more or less. Every program or service connecting to Gmail through POP or IMAP gets its own custom-made app password:

How to Create App Passwords for Gmail

Time needed: 7 minutes

To create a new application-specific password so you can access your Gmail account in an email program or service using POP or IMAP:

  1. Open Gmail in a desktop browser.

    On a mobile phone: You can also open Gmail’s desktop version in a mobile browser.

  2. Click your avatar or name near the top right corner.

  3. Now click Manage your Google Account on the account sheet that has appeared.

  4. Go to the Security category on your Google Account page.

  5. Select 2-Step Verification under How you sign in to Google.

  6. Sign in to Google with your Gmail password, verification code or passkey.

  7. Click App passwords.

    Select “App Passwords” to add an application password for Gmail IMAP and POP

  8. Click Select app below the list of existing app passwords.

  9. Choose the application for which you create the app password followed by selecting a device under Select device or choose Other to name the email program or service freely.

    Important: Do create a new password for each application you use and make the name recognizable so it is easy to disable the password if necessary.

  10. Click GENERATE.

    Generate a Gmail app password HD

  11. Copy and paste the generated password immediately to the email program that uses it.

    Important: Do not save the password anywhere; if you lose it, create a new app-specific password.
    Hint: The password will have 16 characters.

  12. Click DONE.

How to Create App Passwords for Gmail: FAQ

Why do I need app passwords in the first place in Gmail?

With 2-step authentication enabled, your Gmail password alone is not enough to log on to your account; a second means you identify you—typically, a code received through your phone—is necessary. This is true when you open the account in a browser, and it is true when an email program tries to log in.

Gmail offers two ways for your email program to still access mail:

  • OAuth: after you log in with Gmail (using 2-step authentication) and allow the email program or service access to your messages, Gmail hands the app or service a secret token (password) that lets it log in from then on.
  • Gmail app passwords: Gmail creates a random password which lets an email program or service log on with traditional, password-only authentication until you revoke the specific password.

(Gmail app passwords also replace access to Gmail via the account password for individual programs, which has been generally prohibited since May 2022.)

Can I disable a Gmail application password?

Yes, you can delete a Gmail application-specific password at any time. That password will then no longer work. Any application or service that tries to log in with the revoked application-specific password will not be able to access your account.

Do disable Gmail app passwords if you think an app or service might be insecure and when you have either have given away or lost the Gmail application password.

Will disabling one app password affect other apps and passwords?

No.

Other Gmail app passwords will still work like before—as will email service and programs using OAuth, of course, and logging in using 2-step authentication.

How many app-specific passwords can I create in Gmail?

You can create at least fifteen application-specific passwords in Gmail—and probably more.

(How to create Gmail app passwords tested in a desktop browser; first published April 2018, last updated March 2024)

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