Google Less Secure Apps Workaround

Looking for a workaround in the Google less secure apps (apps using only user name and password) settings can be frustrating, Google has required a special setting be enabled to use of “less” secure like Outlook to many years now. The reasoning is outlined by Google:

“Less secure apps can make it easier for hackers to get in to your account, so blocking sign-ins from these apps helps keep your account safe. Because less secure apps can make your account more vulnerable, Google will automatically turn this setting off if it’s not being used.”

However, times are changing and Google has made the process in more complex. So what is the workaround when using with programs that Google considers less secure apps? Most of what we found can all be summed up in a short story. One morning I wake up and my wife comes to me and says “Richard, my Google email is no longer working in Outlook – can you fix it?”. She is my wife so the only appropriate answer is “Yes.” Since she did not change anything with her account, something else must caused the problem. It did not take long to find out that Google is implementing a new policy as of May 30 with “less” secure apps like Outlook and not allowing them to access Google accounts with a special setup. After using the information on a Google support page it was possible to implement the necessary changes to get the account to work (in our case by using an App Password). Yeah kinda…our wife was happy but the adjustment to less secure app policy was not done!

We are also in the website business, and we use Google email accounts to send email from contact forms on websites we host. This new policy necessitated changes to these contact forms as well but due to restriction Google places on the less app process, the above solution did not work in these cases. So what to do? More researched needed to be done and thankfully, for paid Google accounts, there is a SMTP-relay option available that I never knew existed but can be used to send emails from contact forms in an different way then specified above. It is a bit more involved but after some adjustments it worked as well.

In short, we do not know exactly why Google is forcing all of these changes for apps they consider “less” secure – they already had a system in place that seem to be working – but if you still need to use Google email with apps that are less secure then there are options that can allow the process to work well in many situations. You just need to use the option that best fits your situation.