Gmail in Outlook: unable to connect to email

Changes are coming to Gmail and Outlook connectivity this month. On July 15, 2014, Google turned off Basic Authentication for all users and requires all mail clients to use oAuth 2.0.

When Basic Authentication is turned off, if you are not using two-step verification, Outlook, Thunderbird, and other desktop email clients will be unable to connect to Gmail and the password dialog may come up repeatedly.

IMAP error message

You may receive the following send and receive error and Outlook will be disconnected in the Status bar:

Task 'Synchronizing subscribed folders for' reported error (0x800CCC0E) : 'Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders for Error: Cannot connect to the server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).'

In addition to desktop clients, some older mail apps on smartphones and tablets will be unable to connect to Gmail accounts.

If you are using two-step verification, you do not need to enable basic authentication - these accounts require an application-specific password for less secure apps access.

Gmail apps for iPhone iOS7, Windows Phone 8.1, and Android apps from Google use oAuth 2.0 and are not affected.

Google is allowing users to turn Basic Authentication back on. To do so, go to Gmail account settings and choose Allow less secure apps. Or, you can enable two-step authentication (also in Settings) and create an app password. (Create an App password video tutorial)

I recommend turning two-step verification on instead of enabling basic authentication.

Allow access for less secure apps

In other Google news, anyone still using the old Calendar Sync utility will need to find a new sync utility. The Calendar Sync utility will stop working at the end of July 2014. See Using Google Calendar Sync Utility with Outlook for replacement sync utilities.

  • Astro46

    I don't understand the part about using two-step verification instead of "enabling basic authentification". I already use a password for popping gmail through Outlook. How is the generating the password on gmail page and using it in outlook different? And, how would that then affect accessing gmail through a browser or some other device? Use the same generated password (which I will not remember)? or have a collection of passwords for the same account? I don't get it.

  • D Poremsky

    When you use two step and log in using a browser or a phone, a second screen comes up asking for a pin number that was texted to your phone. When you use Outlook, you can't enter the pin number - so you need to use an app password instead. It's basically a single use password - once you close the browser, it's no longer accessible for future use. (I save some app passwords in Outlook notes and reuse them, so i don't have to log into the website to create new ones when I'm testing accounts.)

  • Astro46

    great, I just wrote a response. Disqus wouldn't post without me logging in again, then deleted the post and takes me back to this blank reply window. so, again:
    If I understand: going to gmail through a browser (I don't use the mail apps) on my android tablet or windows phone 8.1, will mean google will automatically text me a password which I will then have to enter, in addition to un/pw which I currently use? My tablet doesn't do text so I wouldn't be able to access gmail. and copy/paste on mobile devices has proven to be a hit and miss, usually fail, operation. Is this what I would be looking forward to?

  • D Poremsky

    Yes, more or less. You should only need the text message the first time you use the account in the app, unless you delete it.

    If you use a browser to read mail, a cookie is saved and you only need to re-authenticate if the cookie is deleted.

    I haven't had much problem with gmail's two step with my account - it works good in a browser. When i create an account in Outlook I need to remember to use the app password. Facebook's is a bigger hassle and authentication is often lost.

  • Astro46

    What happens with the tablet, that doesn't receive text? Can I use the same password in all devices?

    perhaps I will try it, presuming that I can go back to the not authenticate process. I can go back, yes?

  • D Poremsky

    Yes, you can disable two step verification any time. The app passwords can be reused, if you save a copy of them. They also give you a list of 10 codes you can use. i think in place of the text message code, but don't quote me on that as I never used them and it's been awhile since i looked at the page.

  • Astro46

    - all passwords go to whatever phone number you give them, regardless of device.
    - they will use a google voice number, even though they say not.
    - the list of 10 codes are for emergency purposes, not reusable, and they expire. They suggest keeping them "in your wallet".
    - Windows Phone 8.1 browser doesn't seem to need the verification code.

  • GL

    Hello. I made sure 'Allow less secure apps' was enabled. It was already enabled when I started having this problem last week (here in Canada)... I even disabled and re-enabled it to be sure. I still don't have Outlook access on any of my several gmail accounts.

  • D Poremsky

    Do you get any error messages?

  • GL

    yes, the usual 'cannot connect to server', like before. Thx.

  • GL

    BTW my Android email app (the native app, not the Gmail app) continues to work fine with Gmail. Why should that be considered more 'secure' than Outlook, or is that an oversight on Google's part? :)

  • D Poremsky

    I believe it's the way the phone app connects to gmail. Do you have other email accounts in Outlook (and do they work ok)? I'm thinking it's something specific on the computer if you aren't using two-factor auth and an app password.

  • GL

    Yes was thinking of trying a non-Gmail account. Thanks for your input.

  • LuizVB

    Thanks for your time posting these helpful instruction. Appreciated, worked and were of great value and learning!

  • Technical

    Best answer !!! thanx