Internet Security

What to Do When Google Prevents Sign-In Access to Third-Party Apps

Saikat Basu 28-07-2017

About three years back, Google put a bigger lock on its doors and improved sign-in security access for all of its services. That lock was (and is) OAuth 2.0, which is very specific about which third-party apps it allows access to.


Think of this protocol as a big burly bouncer guarding the smarts of a computer. Only with its say-so can you share information from your Google account with third-party applications or websites.

That’s why when you try to sign in to a Google tool with any other app (e.g. a mail app on your phone or an RSS reader), you get stopped in your tracks.

Allowing Sign-In Access to Third-Party Apps

Google does not allow less secure apps to access your accounts. You won’t face this problem with Google’s own set of apps or other utilities that use updated authorization protocols, but it can be a hurdle for third-party apps.

It’s a bad idea to overrule Google’s default setting and allow these apps to come through. But when you get repeated “password incorrect” errors, it can be a troubleshooting step.

Let’s head to the setting from where you can disable the default block, and also check your security settings to see if the block is in place to begin with.


What to Do When Google Prevents Sign-In Access to Third-Party Apps Google Apps Security

  1. Sign into Google and go to the Less secure apps section in My Account (the Google page with all your security controls).
  2. You will find it in the Sign-in & Security section > Connected apps & sites.
  3. The Allow less secure apps is set to OFF by default. Toggle it ON if you are aware of the risks and need to do it for some specific reason like allowing a non-OAuth app to come through.

Also, make it a habit to use this section and check the long list of apps that usually connect to Google or through a Google sign-in. This switch is not a complete shield because there are other threats slithering towards your devices.

Have you every switched it on to troubleshoot access for any trustworthy app on your mobile or computer?

Related topics: Google, Online Security, Smartphone Security.

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  1. Curts
    August 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Dearly wish Thunderbird would add OAuth 2.0 support so I didn't need to use the reduced security.

  2. Bill Knight
    July 29, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Must do this also for a lot of copier scanner's to work also.

  3. Davin Peterson
    July 28, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    For some reason, Google considers Microsoft Outlook a less secure app. So, if you want to sign in to your Gmail account in Outlook, you have to turn ON Allow less secure apps.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 5, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Yes, but what Google defines as "less secure" is misleading. Google would prefer that apps use a different mechanism, called OAuth. While Outlook, sends your log-in info over an encrypted IMAP connection. The two approaches are just different and one isn't any more "secure" than the other.

    • John Smith
      August 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

      "For some reason, Google considers Microsoft Outlook a less secure app."
      Do you blame them?
      Not a fan of everything google does, but they got this one right.
      Outlook is too insecure to be even considered safe.