Question of the Month: Why doesn’t my password work?

Periodically we will post answers to questions we are asked at the shop. This month, the question is why doesn’t my password work?

It is very frustrating if, when requested to re-enter our password, we find that what we believe to be the correct password is deemed to be wrong. Why does this happen and what can be done about it?

Why it happens

The first thing to understand, is that WHY your password doesn’t work might never be understood.

Apps ask for passwords to be re-entered for a variety of reasons. One common reason is that the device or app has run an update which causes a need for re-verification.

Sometimes apps require passwords because something has gone wrong in the app itself.

Sometimes it is human error, and we are typing the password slightly wrong. Other times we forget that we had to create a new password sometime in the past. It is also easy to be confused by which password is being requested.

Some companies require that a password be reset either periodically, or dependent on activity or inactivity. This often is not obvious in the error messages.

So, let’s just go ahead and talk about what to do now.

What to do when your app won’t take your password

Usually the easiest next step is to reset the password. There is almost always a Forgot My Password link below the spot where the password would be entered.

One problem with this method is that some people do not have a mobile phone number or an active secondary email account already set up for this purpose. We strongly recommend that people make sure this is set up for all of their accounts.

If the password is being rejected by an app such as Mail, then one method for troubleshooting is to use a browser and log into the company website directly. This will allow you to see if a password reset is required, and whether the password you are using is in fact correct.

With some email accounts, a special password is required to connect the account to an app such as Mail or Thunderbird. These error messages are also not very helpful. We describe this process in this blog post about App Specific Passwords.

If you would like help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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