A bug in the Apple iOS Mail client app... and Gmail password security?
Apple Mail app on iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch)
loses Gmail password setting, randomly, intermittently.
It's as if the Mail app "forgets" the imap password?
This is a Bug Report on an intermittently recurring iOS Mail bug that occurs on my iPad — every few weeks or so. Many others have reported this bug on their iPhones, iPads, and iPods, for over a year. (There are more than a few discussions on the Apple and the Google online boards.)
The iOS Mail client app fails, recurrently and intermittently, with Gmail. I am using Google two-step verification (2SV) and an ASP (application-specific password) with Apple iOS Mail — but MANY others have reported the same bug without using 2SV/ASP.
I've seen it happen many times. This bug may never get fixed (because it's internittent and rare) but, in case it helps others, here are all the symptoms, workarounds, and test scenarios.
• My Environment •
I have many email accounts setup on my Apple/Verizon 128 GB iPad Air — several ordinary Gmail accounts, several Google Apps (aka Google for Work) Gmail accounts, several Yahoo, one Hotmail, one AOL, and one .me/.iCloud account, and I use the option to fetch new mail hourly. The only inbox that has ever failed with the iOS Mail app is for my primary Gmail account. It fails every few weeks or so. I am able to send mail, but not receive new mail. Everything continues to work fine on the Gmail app, but not the iOS Mail app. This account is also the only account using Google two stage verification...
(Why so many email accounts, you ask? I am a business technology consultant, virtual assistant, technical trainer/coach, and I have set up Gmail and Google Apps for several of my clients. I monitor and we share all these accounts. In order to support and train my clients, I also maintain my own Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple .me/.iCloud, and AOL/AIM mail accounts.)
• Error Messages Seen on iOS 7 — but NOT iOS 8 •
From all the symptoms, and in my experience over the past year, I am convinced that the bug is in the Apple iOS Mail client app, not in Google security, or in the Gmail system itself.
With iOS 7, every few weeks, I saw the error message:
— Cannot Get Mail. The mail server “Imap.gmail.com” is not responding. Verify that you have entered the correct account info in Mail settings. —
Now, with iOS 8, there is NO error message, it just fails to retrieve any new mail — while the iOS Notes, Calendars, and Contacts apps continue to work properly with my primary Gmail account... Only the iOS Mail app fails... and only INCOMING mail fails — outgoing mail continues working fine on the iPad.
• More Details on Symptoms and Workarounds •
Re-entering the password does NOT fix the problem. Creating a new ASV does NOT fix the problem. Only deleting the offending Gmail account, and re-entering the same account, with the same password, will fix the problem. Something is fishy in iOS! There are several more steps to re-create all my custom Gmail settings, to do every time I have to delete that account from my iPad.
I've tried all the workarounds that other people suggested, there are a few dozen related message threads in Apple discussions, and in Gmail support. Here is what works for me.
• My workaround for this bug in the iPad Mail app, to restore all Gmail functions •
Note: Google claims you don't need to save your ASP, but it is reusable, and due to this Apple iOS Mail bug, you may need to reuse it many times. So, it's best to save it in a safe place!
** Updated ** Step Zero Added ** See Comment # 1 below. **
0. SAVE any email drafts that have not yet been saved. An easy way to do this -- if you have TWO email accounts -- just change the FROM email address and SAVE the draft before you proceed. Check the Drafts on another device to see which ones really do need saving. SOME of your drafts may be already saved, some may not yet be saved on the GMAIL server. Any UNSAVED drafts will be deleted in step 2.
1. QUIT the iOS Mail app, also Contacts, also Calendars, and Notes apps. (Double-click the HOME button, swipe UP on each mini-app window.)
2. Delete the offending Gmail account from the iPad. (Settings... Mail, Contacts, Calendars...)
3. Power off and restart — then go to: Settings... Mail, Contacts, Calendars...
4. ADD a new account, select Google (GMail) and re-input all the same old settings.
5. You may re-use the same Gmail application specific password for the iOS Mail app, or a new one, if you are using 2-step validation.
6. Under Mail, Contacts, and Calendars; Also under Notes.
Set Default Account in four places:
. . . Default account for Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Notes.
7. Notifications. Mail account. Badges off. (Optional.)
:: Check: Is the email sig still okay? Per account email signatures ok?
:: Any other custom settings?
• Additional Observations •
Whenever this iOS Mail client app bug happens, I can still SEND Gmail, but I cannot RECEIVE Gmail on my iPad. This bug repeats intermittently, every few weeks or so. At first, I thought iOS was corrupting my Gmail password. Maybe Google was re-setting my application-specific password? However, further tests show those are not the case, it's not that simple.
Recently seen, on or about: 2014.05.12. 20140710. 20140829. 20140905. 20140921.
Why is this here, in a blog? Since there is a character limit on submitting feedback to Apple, I've put all the nasty, gory details here. Also, this is the first ActiveRain blog post I have attempted to write on my iPad, 100% —:— wrote the drafts on the iPad Notes app, added the image in ActiveRain, and posted. Woo hoo! It almost worked. If you go back and edit, it reverts to the original, you cannot update an ActiveRain blog on an iPad, it seems... That's another issue!
If this helps you, please comment and vote appropriately.
Send Apple your feedback if you have this problem:
Include the short URL for this blog? http://actvra.in/4nLy
::: Meanwhile, want to use your own domain name with GMail?
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