Fix Your iPad’s RSS Reader When Using Google’s 2-Step Authentication

After you turn on Google’s 2-Step authentication for your account, your RSS readers on your iPhone and iPad will fail to connect. Here’s how to quickly fix that.


In fact, several other kinds of mobile apps will also fail, but this discussion will focus on RSS, and it’s easy to extend the solution to other apps.

How 2-Step Authentication Works

When you set up 2-Step authentication, you gave Google a phone number that can accept text messages. When Google sees that there’s an attempted login with your account name from an unauthorized computer, it will send a verification code in a text message to your phone. Presumably only you have your phone, and then you can authenticate the login with that verification code. This can help avoid a disastrous security breach.

The Mobile App Problem

Mobile apps on your iPad or iPhone don’t have the ability to ask for a verification code. After you set up 2-Step Authentication, your RSS reader on your iPad, an unrecognized device now, will fail to update. What you need, then, is what’s called an “Application Specific password.” This is a new password issued by Google that authorizes your mobile device and app.

Application Specific Passwords

Here are the instructions Google provides for setting up an Application Specific password. After you login to your account, go to “Authorizing applications & Sites” under your Account’s Security settings. You’ll enter the name of the app and/or device and then click on “Generate Password.”

Google ASP-1

Image Credit: Google

After you do that, a password for that application will be created. Like this:

Google ASP-2

Image Credit: Google

An Example

The RSS reader on my iPad is “Mr. Reader.” It accesses the RSS feeds I’ve set up in Google. In order to get it connected again, I accessed Mr. Reader’s account settings, then I entered this new Account Specific password of the kind in the #3 circle above. (Note: spaces are irrelevant.) Then Mr. Reader connected and updated again. You’ll have to check on how to change the password in your own RSS reader, but you get the idea.

Other Apps & Devices

You may have to repeat this process for other mobile apps like POP and IMAP1 email clients such as Outlook, Mail and Thunderbird plus Gmail and Google Calendar on smartphones. It’s just the price we pay these days for the added security of what must be considered a very valuable two factor authentication feature at Google.