Do You Know How Easy It Is To Secure Your Email? (Part 2)

Last week, I shared the importance of securing your Gmail account. To convince you of the need, I mixed in skin pigmentation and Bon Qui Qui. That’s commitment. This was my version of the Drivers Ed video to scare you into compliance. Instead of shots panning a totaled car, cheesy ominous music, and a party-pooper narrator, I showcased the innocent inbox of a friend. What got smashed was her bank account, not her car. Screech. Crash. Sirens.

Your Last Seven Days

Be honest. You got spooked. You spent the last week stuffing twenty dollar bills under mattresses and cramming hundreds into leftover Keurig pods. You tossed your grandmotherly drip coffee maker a bit too soon. Think of the time saved if you stuffed greens in the old Folgers can as opposed to 47 K-cups. Regret soaked in fear. But you recovered. Your knee-jerk reaction has subsided.

Let me affirm you friend. There is no need to buy a quill, ink bottle and parchment from Amazon. The irony is, an email address is required to complete your order anyway. Come out of the bomb shelter. The solution is simple. You can secure your account in less time than it takes to refill the water in your Keurig.

How to Make Your Gmail Dance the 2-Step

Ok, I’m not sure if young, hip church planters grew up 2-steppin’ on Thursday nights. But by golly, we did. Yeehaw. To give you an appreciation for the clever heading, I must pause and educate. The ‘2-Step’ is a dance associated with country music, boots, pressed-denim and straw…in no particular order. In the interest of full disclosure, I never 2-stepped on a Thursday night. I turned my back on the social phenomenon of my generation. I was too bothered by the dance pattern of three placed against the backdrop of a country song in 4/4. Not to mention, why would you call a dance the “2-Step” and have it be a pattern of three? Welcome to the soapbox I ascended many a Thursday nights. I would ascend said ‘box’ to a captive audience of ladies asking me to dance…once. The fact I got married in spite of this could be an addendum in a revised version of Keller’s Reason for God. Here is the outline for the addendum: Meet Robby, here are his thoughts on the 2-Step, meet Robby’s wife of 21 years, therefore, God exists. But the 2-Step ain’t just a means of securing girls, it also works for securing your Gmail.

As I mentioned last week, this 2-step process applies to numerous online accounts and several social media providers. So even if you are not a Gmailer, read on. The solution is easy, and more effective than a Jedi mind trick. (“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”)

IMPORTANT NOTE: These steps apply for anyone accessing their Gmail account in the browser (IE Chrome or Safari, etc.). If you have a Gmail account you check through another app, like Apple’s Mail program or Microsoft Outlook, you will need to complete a few more steps listed below. Not to worry. You can do this!

Step 1: Login

Grab your laptop. Head to Click the blue Sign in button in the upper RH corner. (In these steps, I will abbreviate “left hand” and “right hand” as ‘LH’ and ‘RH’ respectively.)

If you are already logged in, your Avatar picture will be in the upper RH corner in place of the “Sign in” button. Proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Edit ‘My Account’ Info

You will need your mobile phone nearby. (Let’s be honest, it is right there next to you…and it is warm. You just checked to see if anyone favorited your tweet from this morning. It’s cool. I get it.)

  1. Once logged in, click your profile’s Avatar picture in the upper RH corner. Next click the blue My Account button.
  2. Choose Signing in to Google from the LH Sign-in & security panel.
  3. Click 2-Step Verification
  4. Click the blue Start setup » button
  5. Enter your password again and sign in
  6. Enter your 10-digit cell phone number and keep the default “Text message (SMS)” setting
  7. Enter the 6-digit verification code you just received on your phone and click the blue Verify button
  8. Keep the “Trust this computer” option checked (assuming this is your computer) and click Next
  9. Click Confirm button
  10. Let out an affirmative guttural grunt

Step 3: You’re Done…Unless You’re Not

(Note: Do not leave this page just yet. Keep reading and you will see why.)

Congrats. You should feel like a knight who just saved a small village from an overlord. You just did for your email what Nehemiah did for Jerusalem. You should see this screen as confirmation…

I would recommend you supply a backup number. Click the gray question mark icon next to the heading to learn why it I recommend it. Oh, and I suggest you not give your phone to a suspicious stranger in South Florida. That would negate this little escapade.

Before you leave this page, read this next section. You may have another step to complete while you are here…

Steps for Accessing Gmail from Other Apps (App-Specific Passwords)

Your setup is complete unless you check your Gmail account from another source. These additional steps are necessary if:

  • You use a separate email program on your computer to check your Gmail, like Apple’s Mail or Microsoft Outlook
  • You check your email on your phone using a non-Google app, like iOS Mail (Native Google apps include Gmail or Inbox)

Some third-party apps do not have the option of signing in with a username, password, and verification code. In such cases, you will use a specific app password to access your account using those apps.

Step 4: Add App-Specific Passwords

If you are a ‘shoot first, aim later’ kind of guy, you may have left the page from the last step above. If so, no worries. Just log back in like you did in Step 1. Then click the blue My Account button. Next, choose Signing in to Google from the LH Sign-in & security panel. Finally, click 2-Step Verification and provide your password again. Now you are back with us tortoises.

  1. Choose the App-specific passwords tab
  2. Click the Manage application-specific passwords button at the bottom
  3. Click the Select app pulldown and choose Mail
  4. Click the Select device pulldown and choose the device you would like to check your email from
  5. Follow their easy directions in the popup window to complete the process

Repeat steps 3–5 above to add another app. (Return here if you ever need to “revoke access” to an app.)

What To Expect Moving Forward

Now when you login to Gmail (or Google), you will see a prompt for a 6-digit code sent to your cell phone. Enter the code and sign in. For now, we told Google to “trust this computer.” To translate, Google will not require the 2-step process again for about 60 days when you access your account from this computer. After 60 days, you will be asked to verify via the 2-step process (start login, get 6-digit text message code, enter code and complete sign in). You will then be asked again if it is cool to go another 60 days.

You must complete this 2-step process anytime you attempt to sign into your Google or Gmail account from another device. Easy peasy. If only planting a church were that easy.

Confession & Good News

I’ll spare you the halftime speech where I transition from Gmail’s security to God’s security. To be honest, I could kill it.
Listen here boys. God wants your heart to be secure, not just your Gmail. And he’s set up a 2-step process for you to get security. Step 1: Give him the phone number…to your heart. Step 2: Receive the message he sends you. Don’t never delete it. You’re gonna want it one day when you stand before him…[dramatic pause]…Google THAT!…[spit a brownish glob of tobacco-infused saliva to the side and readjust the remaining dip with tongue]

For a genuine confession and genuine good news, check out part 1 of this series.

Setup 2-Step on Other Popular Platforms

Here are the help guides for other popular platforms.


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