I'm running Mac OS 10.8.1 and have a (personal) Gmail and a (work) Google mail account setup inside Mail client. Every few days (weekly?) Mail seems to forget my personal gmail password and I have to re-enter it again.

This bug seems minor except that with Google 2 Factor authentication, this involves a trip to Google accounts and setting up another password etc. So this bug is hugely annoying when it manifests itself. I don't see this issue on iOS Mail (iPad as well as iPhone) nor on Outlook 2010.

I tried a solution at http://805creative.com/blog/what-to-do-when-apple-mail-keeps-forgetting-your-passwords.html but the plist in question doesn't exist on OS 10.8.1 ..

[UPDATE:] This can happen on either the IMAP (incoming) or SMTP (outgoing) servers. I just saw it happen on the incoming and then 5 mins later on the outgoing. Thankfully I misspelt the label of the outgoing server ('GMial') to notice it was complaining about a different server!

  • Is this happening for IMAP (getting mail) or just SMTP (sending mail)? I'm having a very similar problem...
    – Dan J
    Sep 18, 2012 at 19:46

5 Answers 5


For years, and it still is true, I've had the pattern that Mail claims to have forgot the password but it's actually reacting to some other problem. If you hit the (Cancel) button on the "enter new password" dialog, you should find that it continues to work just fine.

At one time, this syndrome was clearly associated with network problems talking to the mail server (Microsoft Exchange, as it happened); I could tell this by correlating messages in the Console log. More recently, I haven't always been able to identify the underlying problem, but the trick of canceling the password prompt still seems to work all the time, for me.

  • 1
    Cancel just takes my accounts offline :/ Sep 19, 2012 at 20:25
  • I've also never had this actually be a correct error unless I just did change the password and haven't updated my keychain. Most of the time it's just a network error - see my answer as to my experiences.
    – bmike
    May 22, 2014 at 16:03

One thing to try is opening Keychain Access and manually deleting all Gmail related items, then restarting Mail and re-authenticating. I've noticed sometimes that older Gmail passwords tend to stick around in there.

  • I noticed my iCloud was filling up. Turned off keychain and that worked.
    – Jeff
    May 14, 2016 at 13:05

I have seen this error message on accounts where I know Mail (or how it interacts with the keychain) isn't the problem. The problem is the alert is wrong but Mail isn't smart enough to tell the difference between a network/server problem and a password problem.

What I presume is happening is the Mac can't get a log in to the server and prompts you to check the password when the problem is entirely on the server / network end. No amount of re-entering the password into the keychain will fix this sort of error - and rather than go through the steps to re-enter the password, you can check online by logging into webmail with the stored password.

If that works, you know the keychain and Mac are fine and instead look at the network or mail server as the cause of the temporary failure that mail is blaming incorrectly on a password issue.


That DisplayUnlockCaptcha page, solved the issue for me:


  • This didn't work for me, unfortunately. Ten minutes later Mail seems to think it has the wrong password again. May 6, 2013 at 23:16

I've found that if I go to the keychain to find my smtp password (which is the one that always goes for me) and then go to mail settings and re-enter it, it often sorts out the problems.. but, when it doesn't, I have to log into my google account and revoke the app specific password I use for mac mail (as I've got 2 step auth setup). I then have to enter this new password in mail settings for both the imap and smtp sections of the account.

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