Do you get a “password incorrect” error trying to set up Gmail in your email program? Find out here how to enable less secure apps Gmail access and configure Gmail to work with all email programs using POP or IMAP.

First, Wait and Look Behind

Do you see a long line of patient people queueing up? Good!

Waiting in a queue and seeing the line grow behind you makes experiences—at a theme park, say, or maybe the post office?—more valuable. You are gaining access, after all, to something everybody wants.

Want access to Gmail in your favored email program, and all you get is an error message telling you that your password (which you know is correct, because you have just used it to log in to Gmail) is incorrect?

Let’s fix that and allow what Google deems less secure apps Gmail access. Please be so kind and queue up back there.

How to Enable Less Secure Apps Gmail Access—for Mail, Outlook, Pegasus Mail,…

To allow “less secure apps” Gmail access so you can use your account with email applications that do not support OAuth2 authentication:

  1. Click your account’s avatar or initials in your Gmail’s top right corner.
  2. Select Google Account on the sheet that has appeared.
  3. Go to the Security category on the left.
  4. Follow the Turn on access link under Less secure app access.
  5. Make sure Allow less secure apps: is ON.
    • Note: It is best to allow less secure apps only when there is no alternative—and to look for an alternative, then disable access again.
    • Important: If you allow less secure apps access to your Gmail account, do use 2-step authentication and Gmail app passwords.

Now, you can set up Gmail in most email programs using POP or IMAP; make sure

Less Secure Apps Gmail Access: FAQ

What does “less secure” mean? Am I in danger if I use such apps?

An app is less secure if it

  • sends your account’s password over the internet, in the worst case unencrypted in plain text or
  • stores your Gmail password locally, again without encryption in the worst case.

This makes it easier to intercept or steal your password. You are not necessarily in danger, however, just more at risk.

(How to Enable Less Secure Apps Gmail Access tested in Mail for macOS; updated January 2019)