'Application-specific password required'.

Signing in to applications that access your Google Account

Some applications that access your Google Account (such as Gmail on your phone or Outlook) cannot ask for verification codes. To use these applications, you will not use verification codes. Instead, you'll enter an application-specific password in place of your normal password. Common applications and devices that require an application-specific password include:

  • POP and IMAP email clients such as Outlook, Mail and Thunderbird
  • Gmail and Google Calendar on smartphones
  • ActiveSync for Windows Mobile and iPhone
  • YouTube Mobile
  • Installed chat clients such as Adium
  • Picasa, 3D Warehouse, Sketchup, and installed applications
  • AdWords Editor

Most of the time, you will only have to enter an application-specific password once per application or device (soon after you turn on 2-step verification).

Generating application-specific passwords

An application-specific password is similar to a verification code in that you don't have to memorize it. However, application-specific passwords are longer than verification codes and you do not enter them into web browsers. In addition, you do not get application-specific passwords from your phone -- instead, to generate an application-specific password:

  1. Visit the Authorizing applications & sites page (pictured below) under your Google Account settings.
  2. Under the Application-specific passwords section, enter a descriptive name for the application (label 1) you want to authorize, such as "AdWords Editor – Desktop," then click “Generate application-specific password" (label 2).
application-specific password creation

You'll then see the application-specific password you just created (label 3). You'll also see the nickname of the device (label 4) and a link to Revoke (label 5) -- or cancel -- the code.

application-specific password example

Note: When you click Done, you will not be able see that application-specific code again. But don't panic -- you can always revoke that code and generate a new one.

Using application-specific passwords

When prompted for a password when you sign in to an application or device that accesses your Google Account:

  1. Enter your username.
  2. Enter your application-specific password in the password field.
  3. If your application has an option to remember your application-specific password or stay signed in, you can select that option so you won’t have to generate and enter a new application-specific password each time you access your account from this application or device.

Examples of using application-specific passwords

Apple Mail

Soon after you turn on 2-step verification, you'll be alerted that your password is no longer working (see image below). Enter an application-specific password that you generated in the "Password" field (label 1). If you want Mail to store your password for future sign in, you can click the box next to "Remember this password on my keychain" (label 2).

application-specific password Mail example

Picasa desktop application

Soon after you turn on 2-step verification, you'll be alerted that your password is no longer working (see image below). Enter the username of your account in the username field (label 1) and an application-specific password that you generated in the "Password" field (label 2). If you want Picasa to remember your information so that you do not have to sign in again, check the box next to "Remember me on this computer" (label 3). We recommend you don't check this box if you're using a shared computer.

application-specific password Picasa example

Third-party applications that use Google's API feed, such as Blogger plug-ins, might not accept 2-step verification codes. Check the resources provided by the plug-in for the best way to use it with 2-step verification.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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