Generate an Application Specific Password for POP/IMAP in Gmail

Create a special password for your favorite desktop email program

To make Gmail services even more secure, Google has introduced the two-step verification for the Google accounts. In this verification, the users have to enter a special code received on their mobile number or mobile application in addition to the username and password in order to log into their Gmail accounts.  This feature certainly enhances the security of a Gmail account but it has its own drawback as well. The desktop email programs such as Mozilla Thunderbird, MS Outlook, Google’s Mail Fetcher doesn’t simply accept 2 step verification codes.

So, if you have two-step verification enabled in your Gmail account and you are looking to use Gmail in desktop email program using POP/IMAP, then you need to have an application specific password. The application specific password is a special password created for a specific program or service only.

How to create a Gmail application specific password?

To generate an application specific password to use your Gmail account via IMAP or POP you have to follow the steps given below:

  1. First of all, click on your name or profile picture available on the top right corner of Gmail inbox.
  2. Click on “Google Account” from the appeared menu.
  3. Scroll down to find the “Sign-in & Security” section. Here, you need to click on “Signing in to Google”
  4. Click on “App Passwords” under the “password & sign-in method” section.
  5. Google will ask you to enter your Gmail password once again to protect your account. You need to enter your password and click on “next”.
  6. Now, you need to ensure that “Mail or Other (custom name)” is chosen under the Select app menu.
    1. In case you have selected “Mail” then you have to choose a PC or any other device under the “Select Device” menu.
    2. If you have selected “Other (Custom name)” then you have to enter trusted application or program such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Mail Fetcher etc.
  7. After selecting the device or application, you need to click on “Generate”.
  8. Find and immediately enter the password under the “Your app password for your device” field.
  9. Finally, click on “Done”.

How to manage Application specific password for POP/IMAP?

One of the major benefits of an Application-specific password is that you can change the specific password for different applications without having to change your Gmail password. So, if you have to change the password of a specific program or service all you have to do is revoke the previously set password and create a new one by using the above-mentioned step. For example – if you want to change the password for log into Gmail in Outlook express then you don’t need to change the Gmail password. Just change the app-specific password for MS Outlook Express and log into Gmail on outlook express with a new password.

It is highly recommended that you should use different application-specific passwords for different services. There is absolutely no limit on the number of application-specific passwords you can generate to use with different programs and services. You can use application-specific password not only for POP/IMAP in Gmail but also for your accounts on social media.

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