Google caused me a lot of frustration last night. I got an email from Google that warned of a security issue. After I dealt with it, I couldn't use Apple Mail to access my Gmail account.
Bottom line: don't trust a Google security alert if you're a Mac user. Here's the disturbing details of what happened to me. First, I got this email from Google.
So I decided to take the 2-minute checkup. In retrospect that was a foolish decision.
I was presented with a couple of pieces of information. At the bottom of a web page (after I logged into my Google account) there was a list of three applications that could be a security risk, but not a bad one. I decided to leave those alone.
Above that list was a message that said something like, "These apps are a serious security risk. You should deny access to them." But there wasn't any mention of what those applications were.
Since Google had shown me a list of the less serious risks, I figured that after I clicked on the "Next" button (not sure if that was the exact name) I'd be led to a page that listed the more serious risks and would be asked which I wanted to deny access to.
Instead -- and this is super-annoying-- after I clicked "Next," or whatever the term was, Google simply congratulated me on making my computer more risk free, saying that access to those nasty dangerous apps was now denied.
Well, one of those applications was Apple Mail. I had been locked out of getting new messages from my Gmail account.
It took me well over an hour to get my Apple Mail functioning again. Even after I changed my Gmail password I keep getting error messages that either my name or password was incorrect. Plus, Google kept sending messages to my wife's computer that someone was trying to access my account, and that person, of course, was ME.
I finally decided to restart my MacBook Pro, and the new Gmail password then was recognized by Apple Mail.
What's happening here, pretty clearly, is that Google has decided that Apple Mail is a risky application that nobody should be using. Not coincidentally, I'd noticed that Google had advised me that I should only use Google apps for mail, photos, and such.
Here's some links to articles about this problem written by people a lot more knowledgeable than I am about the pissing match that's going on between Google and Apple, with Mac users like me stuck in the middle of the mess.
This is a discussion thread on the Apple web site about the Google problem, which has this cogent comment:
The reason I found that option with Google is because I couldn't add a Gmail account to Microsoft's Outlook either. It was also being called "insecure." It's not just with Apple.
Google and Apple don't like each other. Remember when Apple stopped using Google Maps on iPhone?
It's not a less secure app, it's probably just Google being Google. I use Chrome at my job at a school and Chrome says the XEROX website isn't secure either when I log into an admin account. I literally have to click the advanced options and proceed anyway in order to sign in. Basically if Google has some sort of app, extension, or website that does the same thing, they want you to use that instead of anything else.
And Jamie Pollock's "Why Gmail sucks for Apple users. Part 1" is right on.
Have you recently started getting an incorrect password message when trying to access your Gmail account? There is a chance that Google is blocking your login because you are not running the latest operating system, and not using a Google product to access your Gmail.
...My current problem with the Gmail system has to do with them blocking sign-ins due to people using what they refer to as “less secure apps.” Those “less secure apps” refer to any email client that’s not made by Google and has not been upgraded to the very latest version.
...In those Blocked Sign-In Notification email messages, we read some very interesting new wording:
"You can switch to an app made by Google such as Gmail to access your account (recommended) or change your settings so that your account is no longer protected by modern security standards."
Wow, our options were to use a Google app, or go to a website with “lesssecureapps” in the URL, and agree to no longer use “modern security standards?” Apparently, Google has unilaterally declared that older copies of Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook no longer support modern security standards. This is patently untrue.
What gets me is that I'm using the most recent version of the Mac OS, High Sierra 10.13.2 Yet somehow Google thinks that I'm taking a big risk by using Apple Mail as my email application.
Well, after the major frustration I went through last night getting my Gmail account to work again with Apple Mail, I'm strongly inclined to trust Apple more than Google.
So like I said, if you're a Mac user, probably you should ignore security alerts from Google. At the least, think twice before clicking on a button that Google says will deny access to insecure applications, because one of those apps probably is Apple Mail.