Love the idea of two-factor auth and was pushed to do it finally by the issues that plagued the Gizmodo author.

I enabled two-factor auth and it was all going really smoothly. I used Google Authenticator and two-factor setup to create some application-specific passwords, scan the Authenticator QR code with my iPhone to set it up, etc. etc.

However, now my iPad is reporting that it can't connect to GMail via Google Sync (Exchange) on the iPad.

I've taken the following steps:

  • Attempted to use an app-specific password. Tried a few different ones just to see if they worked.
  • Attempted to use a code generated from Google Authenticator on the iPhone.
  • Looked up Google Help. It told me to use Google Authenticator to add my iPhone, but doesn't seem to an address an iDevice that isn't the primary device (i.e. Phone). I can't add an additional QR code as far as I can see.
  • I can't navigate to the App Store on my iPad because the google sync login window incessantly pops up.

Any advice on how best to proceed from someone who activated his iPhone before an iPad?

The main thing I seem to be getting hung up on is that the process to connect the iPad is the same as the iPhone, except Google's process recommends adding an iPhone, and when I already have one and need to add an iPad, the only options I have are replace or remove.

  • You are going to use two different passwords for each device, correct?
    – bmike
    Oct 30, 2012 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


I have this set up on my iPad and iPhone. Google's site isn't very clear, and it's easy to get confused between the different elements of the two factor logins.

It sounds like what you're getting hung up on is the Google authenticator app. That's only used for logging in to Google's websites, it doesn't authenticate your iPhone/iPad for email access or anything else. For mail access, all you need (and the only thing that will work) are app specific passwords.

Here's what I did:

  1. Go to this page and generate an app-specific password. Label it iPhone Mail. (Doing this on the actual device is probably best, since you can copy/paste rather than manually copying from your Mac).
  2. Open your iPhone Mail settings, and input the password you generated into your Gmail account settings.
  3. Repeat for the iPad (creating a different app-specific password is highly recommended).

That should be all you need.

I think the reason you had trouble with the authenticator on your iPad is that Google probably allows only one authenticator active at a time for security purposes. I'm not 100% sure on this, but it's my best guess. I'd suggest keeping it on whatever device you have with you more often (guessing that's your iPhone).

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