When I tried to add my Gmail account, I was notified by Google with a message that follows:

attempt prevented

Hi, Someone just tried to sign in to your Google Account from an app that doesn't meet modern security standards. Details: We strongly recommend that you use a secure app, like Gmail, to access your account. All apps made by Google meet these security standards. Using a less secure app, on the other hand, could leave your account vulnerable. Learn more.

Google stopped this sign-in attempt, but you should review your recently used devices.

Basically, right now there is no way to use Geary as a mailbox for Gmail (and for other services it, apparently, doesn't provide enough security). It's not really a question, but I would love to have this issue fixed.

Are elementary devs going to do something about that? If yes, when the update will be available?

  • Thunderbird connects to Gmail just fine (but, ugh, it doesn't support conversations view and I generally hate how UI looks in it).
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 22:04
  • 1
    I'm using Geary with 3 google accounts at the moment, one gmail and two google apps. the gmail account, I have two step verification enabled and app specific password.
    – igrossiter
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 12:50
  • Is this problem still exist? Because I can use my gmail acount with Geary, that's why I am asking.
    – mtilhan
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:16
  • yes I also just generated app-specific password, without the need to "lower" my security settings
    – jena
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 9:12

3 Answers 3


The security standard Google is talking about is called OAuth. It's a modern technology to authenticate a user. As the Wikipedia article states:

Google supports OAuth 2.0 as the recommended authentication mechanism for all of its APIs.

Geary is using IMAP/POP3 authentication, not OAuth. That's the problem. elementary OS actually supports OAuth authentication via the online accounts functionality which could be used by any application.

Unfortunately, Geary does not support using online accounts yet. After all, Geary is a third-party application not developed by the elementary OS team. [Edit: Since this answer was posted, the elementary team forked Geary as Pantheon Mail in early 2016.] Of course the team would like to implement the functionality themselves, but the development resources (time, developers, money) are limited.

While Google claims IMAP and POP3 to be insecure, in reality it's not. Well, maybe the NSA knows how to break IMAP and POP3 authentication, but in general it is safe as it uses TLS aka SSL.

  • Maybe google secretly knows something about NSA getting through IMAP and POP3, and thus recommends oauth.
    – misiu_mp
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 19:31
  • @misiu_mp I think Google knows if NSA wants something they can just ask and Google has to give it to them by law.
    – jena
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 10:18
  • I think this answer is outdated. I just searched for Gmail word through Geary issues, and I see e.g. this one, which implies that nowadays Geary works fine with Gmail accounts.
    – Hi-Angel
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 16:04

"Doesn't meet modern security standards" is Google code talk for not an in-house developed application. By default, Google locks out most third party clients from IMAP access, but you can change that here:


  • This doesn't work with two-factor-authentication, Google suggested to use app-specific password, which bypassed this step of "lowering" security settings.
    – jena
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 9:09
  • @jena thank you for the suggestion; the app-specific password solved my login problem
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 5, 2022 at 15:09

Had same problem with Opencart regarding this and using it as SMTP. Google Apps security settings needs changing to allow access!!

Google Apps


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