Why Doesn’t Gmail Work On My iPhone? Here’s The Fix!

You’re positive you’re entering your Gmail password correctly, but your email won’t load on your iPhone or iPad. Or maybe Gmail was working on your iPhone, but now you’re on vacation and it suddenly stopped. In this article, I’ll explain why Gmail doesn’t work on your iPhone or iPad, and how to fix the problem so your email loads in the Mail app.

The Problem: Security

Security is one of the biggest concerns nowadays for companies and consumers alike. Companies don’t want to get sued, and consumers don’t want to have their personal information stolen. Unfortunately, when security becomes too tight and no explanations are given, many people find themselves locked out of her own accounts.

Cannot Get Mail

Gmail Cannot Get MailThe problem isn’t with the security itself—it’s that the lack of explanations leave iPhone users completely in the dark. My dad was recently on vacation and he called me as soon as he arrived because his email stopped loading on his iPad. It worked perfectly before he left, so why not now? The answer is this:

Google saw that he was trying to connect from a new location and blocked the sign-in attempt because it assumed that someone was trying to hack into his email account. My dad didn’t even know that was a possibility, but Apple Store employees see it happen all the time. Even if you’re not on vacation, Gmail can block sign-in attempts for all sorts of reasons.

How To Fix Gmail On Your iPhone Or iPad

If you know you’re entering your Gmail password correctly and you still can’t get your mail, here’s what to do:

1. Visit The Gmail Website And Check For Alerts

We need to visit the Gmail website to get a better idea of what’s going on, because the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad can’t give you any details about why you can’t sign in. Use a computer if you can (it’s easier to navigate the Gmail website with a larger screen), but this process will work on iPhone and iPad too.

Open Safari, Chrome, or another internet browser, go to gmail.com, and enter your email address and password.

Sign In On Gmail.com

iPhone Click Mobile Gmail Site LinkIf you’re using an iPhone, you may see a popup that asks you to download an app—but now’s not the time. Tap the tiny “mobile Gmail site” link at the bottom of the screen.

After you log in, look for an alert box or email in your inbox that says something like, “Someone has your password” or “We blocked a sign-in attempt.” If you a box or email like that, click on the link inside called “Review Your Devices Now”, “That Was Me”, or similar—the exact language changes often.

Someone Has Your Password
Gmail Someone Has Your Password Email

2. Review Your Recent Devices On Google’s Website

Even if you didn’t get an email about a blocked sign-in attempt, it’s a good idea to visit the section called Device activity & notifications on Google’s My Account website. You’ll be able to see all of the recent devices that have tried to sign into your account, and unblock the ones that were you. (Hopefully, they’re all you!)

Device Activity And Notifications

After you tell Google that it was indeed you who tried to sign in to your account, your email should begin to load on your iPhone or iPad. If it doesn’t, read on.

3. Do The CAPTCHA Reset

Gmail has a little-known fix called a CAPTCHA reset that momentarily unlocks some of Google’s security features to allow new devices to connect to Gmail. I learned about it when I worked at the Apple Store, and I don’t know how anyone could know it exists without the benefit of really nerdy friends. I’m happy to be able to share it with you.

Allow access to your Google account

To do the CAPTCHA reset, visit Google’s CAPTCHA reset page and log in with your username and password. Next, try signing into your Gmail account on your iPhone or iPad. This time, the sign-in attempt should work, and Google will remember your device so you shouldn’t run into problems moving forward.

4. Make Sure IMAP Is Enabled

Another reason why Gmail may not be working on your iPhone or iPad is that IMAP (the technology Gmail uses to deliver mail to your device) may be disabled in Gmail’s settings. If IMAP is turned off on Gmail.com, you won’t be able to get your email from the server.

To learn how to turn on IMAP for Gmail, check out my short article called How Do I Enable IMAP for Gmail On iPhone, iPad, & Computer?, and then come back here to finish up. The process is a little tricky, especially on iPhone, so I made a step-by-step guide with pictures to help.

5. Remove Your Gmail Account From Your iPhone And Set It Up Again

If you’re able to login on Gmail.com without any problems, you verified that your device isn’t being blocked in device activity and notifications, you’ve done the CAPTCHA reset, and you’re sure that IMAP is enabled, it’s time to try the modern version of the “unplug it and plug it back in” solution: Remove your Gmail account from your iPhone entirely and then set it up again.

In most cases, all of a person’s email is stored on the Gmail servers. That means that when you remove your Gmail account from your iPhone, you’re not deleting anything from the server itself, and when you set up your account again, all of your email, contacts, and notes will come right back.

A Word Of Warning

The reason I mention this is that some people may be using an older type of mail delivery system called POP (which has largely been replaced by IMAP). Sometimes, POP accounts delete email on the server after it is downloaded to the device. Here’s my advice:

Just to be safe, log into gmail.com before you delete your Gmail account from your iPhone and make sure all of your email is there. If you see the mail on the web interface, it’s on the server. If you don’t see your mail on gmail.com, I recommend you skip this step for now. 99% of people reading this will see their email can take this step safely.

How To Remove Your Gmail Account From Your iPhone or iPad

Delete Gmail Account From iPhoneTo remove your Gmail account from your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, tap on your Gmail account, tap Delete Account, and tap Delete from my iPhone. Next, go back to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, tap Add Account…, tap Google, and enter your account information.

Gmail: Loading Again On Your iPhone And iPad

Gmail is working again on your iPhone or iPad and you can send and receive email using the Mail app. If you’ve noticed your battery has been draining too, one of the biggest reasons is “Push Mail”, which I explain how to optimize in step #1 in my article about how to save iPhone battery life.

This is one of those tricky problems that affects a lot of people, and now that you know the answer, give them a hand if you see that Gmail doesn’t work on their iPhone or iPad. If you’d like to leave a comment, I’d like to hear about which step fixed this problem for you.

All the best, and remember to Payette Forward,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Mahtab
1 month ago

Hi David, Thank you for your useful article. I Followed all the mentioned steps, deleted account from my iphone and checked it from the PC. I can log in successfully from my laptop but after deleting my account from my iphone I cant set it again. It asks my account name or phone no. and then my password which I insert correctly just like my laptop, but after trying to set the account for a few seconds it goes back to the previous page, just like nothing has happened. I really dont know what is happening and what is wrong.… Read more »

Michelle Sorzano
3 months ago

I did everything you suggested, now I cannot add back my Gmail account nor can I log in to the Gmail app. Please help me!
Michelle.

Editor
Liam Shotwell
3 months ago

If you tried all of the solutions in this article, then I would just try and see if you can access your Google account on a device other than your phone. If you can’t, then it sounds like there is something wrong with your account. You’ll have to contact Google support or make a new account. It’s also possible that you might have forgotten your password (which I do way too often, unfortunately).

Anon
4 months ago

I followed all your suggestions and I KNOW they helped!
There are 2 things I’d like to add.
I had to go into my Google account and allow less secure apps to run. I could not find where to do this so here;s a link.
The other thing is I think, disabling the CAPtCHA is only if you’re using Outlook. ?
 
 
https://myaccount.google.com/lesssecureapps

JCee
4 months ago

Ok, after it worked for the mail app, i still couldn’t go from an email (to check gmail suspicious activity) to Safari–still gave me the “cannot open due to unsecure” error message. Went through a bunch of settings that seemed normal–but location services was off. After I turned that on, it let me reload gmail account and go from mail to safari and load google account on safari, no problem.

JCee
4 months ago

This was the advice that worked after multiple attempts to get away from the error message. I think the best was going to google to verify the activity, so thank you!!

Anonymous
1 year ago

I did steps 1 through 5 and while I can access my gmail on both iPhone and iPad, my email inbox has not refreshed since 6 this morning, I have no idea what else to try, so frustrated (ugh)….. any other thoughts?

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you!!!!

Anonymous
2 years ago

1 or 3 worked for me, thanks

Anonymous
2 years ago

David,

Thanks for the CAPTCHA fix. It worked like you said. So glad you took the time and energy to post a number options to try. I have never heard of the CAPTCHA until I read about it as one of the google gmail fix options that you had discovered. So glad you provided the link as well.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you so much, that really worked with me <3

Anonymous
2 years ago

Did all of these steps and still not working. The only thing that happened from the time I had no problems getting email on my phone to having problems was that I changed my password. That prompted alerts that 1) I changed my password and 2) I signed in from a new phone (which I did by going to gmail.com).When I go to add the gmail account to my iphone, i enter email, password and then it returns me to the Add Account screen as tho I did nothing. Why can’t I add my gmail account back?

Anonymous
2 years ago

CAPTCHA Reset worked. I was going crazy because gmail stopped working on my iPhone. Thanks so much.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to outline this. I did this over and over again but having the gmail app already on my phone was not allowing the new set up to work on adding my gmail back to the apple mail app! Thanks

Anonymous
2 years ago

None of the suggestions worked for me

Anonymous
2 years ago

All of these complicated fixes to access your own phone is why more and more people are simply buying a samsung. Problem fixed, permanently !!

Anonymous
2 years ago

I have tried every step of your suggestions and still get a message saying “The connection tot he server failed”.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I tried everything, went to #5, deleted account, went back to ‘add account’, clicked Google, inserted email account, password, then screen goes back to the previous ‘add account’ screen…with no new email listed. i’ve tried about 8 times now doing same thing, account is not added. Please, any advice?

Anonymous
2 years ago

I tried all the suggestions and none worked. I am afraid Apple wants me to buy a different phone! Thank you for the detailed help, however.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I ended up deleting my gmail and re-installing it. I can receive and open email but I cannot send replies or new email. Help please!

Anonymous
2 years ago

For me am trying on iPhone 5s am trying to add account automatically it takes user name and password it even shows the sync options after that for few sec and then just come back to the add account.

Anonymous
2 years ago

wonderful! thanks for sharing this article. it is very helpful for resolving Gmail won’t load problems, thanks once again, keep posting in future

Anonymous
2 years ago

I *think* this page was very helpful. Thank you for posting! I say “I think” because I’m not sure what worked. I did everything you suggested, and perhaps some other things from other web sites–I spent an hour or two on this issue. Then I went back to bed for an hour or two, and then the gmail account started working again. This has happened to me twice now with two different gmail accounts, and both times the account started working again only after waiting an hour or two after I stopped trying. Some other details: (1) This has happened… Read more »

Anonymous
2 years ago

I removed my gmail in my iphone, entered the correct email address and password. After accepting the notice that gmail will access my information, it goes back to the start without loading my mails.

Anonymous
2 years ago

None of these is working for my iPhone 8 plus. 🙁

Anonymous
2 years ago

Helppppppppp!!!!!!
I removed and re-instill Gmail to my iPhone, and it worked but it deleted all of my contacts and notes what should I do?!? please help!!!

Anonymous
2 years ago

I’ve tried all the steps, but after deleting the suspect gmail account from my account settings I am still unable to add it fresh. After entering the credentials, it briefly shows a ghosted account screen like the others, but then springs back to the account type screen with no account added. Funny thing is this account has been on my phone and iPad for months and only today it started giving me the imap error message, but I have other gmail accounts linked that work fine still. Completely baffled

Anonymous
3 years ago

OMG – The CAPTCHA reset worked after hours of hair tearing. A thousand thanks.

Anonymous
3 years ago

#5 did it for me! Thanks.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Captcha reset just worked for me after an afternoon of not being able to send emails from my iPhone or Outlook-so thank you!

Anonymous
3 years ago

David-

I was not able to open my email after upgrading to IOS 10.
Followed you step_by_step doc. Checked with first few steps (Security,
Enable IMAP …)- still did’nt work. Finally deleted gmail a/c from my I-phone
and re-add. Now gmail fetching is working OK. Thanks for your FAQ kind of Doc-
quite helpful.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I tried this, had issues with SSL and IMAP – and it didn’t work because actually the issue was with my internet connection – the network did not allow imap connections – Fun to find out after an hour of googling!
So, I turned WiFi off, went on 3g / 4g, then went to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Add Account > Google (NOT other). Input your details and boom..that was it!

BrilliantlyMad Collective
3 years ago

We found this on another thread, which worked for us:

Settings > Cellular > “Use cellular data for” > Turn switch on for “Settings” permitted me to add my 4th Gmail account (the other 3 I did at home on WiFi) for my iP6 , iOS9.1

Anonymous
3 years ago

Question…I use a comcast POP account because I share an email address with my hubby and if I use IMAP and delete a message, he won’t get it. So, my question is, can I have comcast set up as POP and a gmail account set up as IMAP? I rarely use gmail but would like the option on my iphone but can’t seem to get to my emails.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I removed the account from my phone but now it wont let me add it again. My calendars were connected to it and now I have lost a lot of info

Anonymous
3 years ago

Hi! Need help – I reinstalled the Gmail app and it still says no connection, I am on a valid connection and is working. Please suggest a solution – thanks – Sitaram

Anonymous
3 years ago

Nothing works. Still getting imap.gmail.com server not responding. I feel like I’m in a squirrel cage. Google is not helpful!

Anonymous
3 years ago

The final comment fixed it for me – you need to be on wifi. It wont load on 3G for some reason

Anonymous
3 years ago

My problem was that the Gmail app on IOS worked on wi-fi, but not on cellular – ai just go a new iPhone – transferred everything over, but Gmail App on cellular would not work. I had cellular for Gmail checked on in settings. I fixed this by enabling cellular for Settings – I read this somewhere else on the net – not sure where, or even why this works. Settings > Cellular > scroll down to “Settings” and enalbe it – turn it green! I hope this information is useful.

Anonymous
3 years ago

THANK YOU! #3 worked for me!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Hmmm, not able to add it to my mac mail client or my iphone. I just changed my password this afternoon after a security threat and now I can’t add it. It goes to the password and I put it in and then it just goes right back to the start…

Anonymous
3 years ago

None of these worked for me. Any suggestions?

Anonymous
3 years ago

I removed gmail from my phone. When I went to add the account again it takes me all the way to the password, I hit enter then it takes me back to the “Add account” page with all the different email types listed
How do I fix this?

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This was driving me nuts this morning, and Step 3 did the trick. Phew!!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you! Mine was as easy as #1, but I would not have figured that out on my own. I’ve been using the gmail app to check work email, and it randomly stopped working after 2.5 years. I went into security, flipped “allow less secure apps” to “on,” and voila!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Your brilliant, thank you!

Anonymous
3 years ago

I just used #5 to remove and re-install Gmail to my Iphone and it worked like magic. If it weren’t for this kind of info most of us would be limited to our desk-tops and flip phones for talking only. Thank you.

How Do I Enable IMAP for Gmail On iPhone, iPad, & Computer? The Fix!
4 years ago

[…] Gmail won’t load on your iPhone at all, I recommend you read my article called Why Doesn’t Gmail Work On My iPhone? Here’s The Fix! for a complete walkthrough of how to fix that problem. “Make Sure IMAP Is Enabled” is […]