Skip to content
December 3, 2012 / Kamil Páral

GNOME 3.6: GNOME Online Accounts and Google two-factor authentication

goa-panel In GNOME 3.4 (Fedora 17), GNOME Online Accounts (GOA) worked great with Google two-factor authentication (you really should enable that, if you value your data). In GNOME 3.6 (Fedora 18) it works no more, and it might be fixed in GNOME 3.8. When developers break some existing functionality for the sake of “progress”, but don’t bother fixing it or providing an alternative way before an official release, I always feel a bit… disenchanted.

Fortunately you can work around the broken code.

  1. Open Seahorse, filter your passwords for “GOA”, you should see one or two items of “Gnome Online Accounts password” type. Delete them.
  2. Re-login to Gnome session.
  3. Open Online Accounts and log in to your Google account. It will fail.
  4. Create an application-specific password for your Google account in the web browser.
  5. Open Seahorse, filter your password for “GOA”, you should see a single item. Open it and display the password. It will be very long, find the following section: 'password': <'your_password'>.
  6. Replace your_password with your application-specific password you’ve generated.
  7. Close Seahorse and re-login to your Gnome session.
  8. Online accounts should work now. It worked for me.

It would be really nice if we didn’t have to fix this stuff by hand. Every time I upgrade I have to do lots of these kinds of magic fixes. In Fedora 18, this was one of the minor issues. The big issues still await me.

Flattr this


Leave a Comment
  1. Matej Ľach (@MatejLach) / Dec 3 2012 19:01

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for a workaround since 3.6 was out!

  2. Felipe Lessa / Jan 3 2013 02:02

    Thanks! =)

  3. Anonymous / Jan 16 2013 15:58

    thanks, problem solved =)

  4. fchaillou / Jan 17 2013 01:35

    It also worked for me !
    Thanks a lot for the simple fix.

  5. Magnum / Jan 18 2013 00:35

    Can you help me, it is no working for me, what do you mean by re-login to your Gnome session? in gnome 18 you cant log out if you only have one user, which is my case. Also everytime i try to re login on the online user acounts after setting my aplication specific pass on the seahorse, it resets the password there…

    • Kamil Páral / Jan 18 2013 09:50

      Yes, removing “Log Out” was a very poor decision from the GNOME team. You can still trigger it by running “gnome-session-quit” or creating another user, but the easiest solution is just to reboot completely.

  6. Peter / Jan 18 2013 02:51

    Thanks, you’re a lifesaver!

  7. xaeth / Jan 19 2013 05:01

    I just tried this several times and it still doesn’t work for me. I also noticed that the seahorse pop up for the GOA store gets very flakey on displaying when you mess with the password.

  8. spanishflea (@spanishflea) / Jan 22 2013 07:14


  9. martin / Feb 13 2013 16:43

    sadly, this is also not working for me. after setting the password in seahorse and re-login, authentication fails again :(
    i’m unable to use google talk in empathy and disappointed.

  10. Oliver Schmidt / Feb 24 2013 15:53


  11. Christian / Mar 8 2013 10:30

    Not working for me either… Fedora 18.

  12. Michel S. / Mar 19 2013 17:24

    Same here. After wiping the GOA passwords in Seahorse and removing the entry in GOA, I created a new account, changed the password, logged out. Upon logging back in, was told credentials has expired. Verified the manually-entered application-specific password is still there in Seahorse, restarted — no difference.

    It’s a bit maddening how GOA does not allow the use of app-specific passwords; in GNOME 3.4 I recall using it just fine with Empathy.

    ps on Fedora 18 as well, g-o-a 3.6.2. Perhaps something breaks during an update?

    • Michel S. / Mar 19 2013 17:37

      Ah, silly me — one is meant to replace the password *within* the dictionary that’s stored as the GOA password, not replace the entire dictionary with the app-specific password. Works now. Though finding that, while Empathy works with Google Talk, enabling Facebook chat through GOA crashes it. Sigh.

      Muchas gracias!

  13. dunkelfuerst / Mar 22 2013 19:52

    Thank a lot! Saved my day. You just won one more reader for your feed.

  14. Jan / Mar 30 2013 17:44

    Thanks a lot, this saved my day, too. Damn gnome3. Such a beautiful wm, sadly with so many problems.

  15. Anonymous / Apr 15 2013 21:37

    Also works on Gnome 3.8, thanks! :)

  16. Eduard Drenth / Apr 27 2013 17:43

    This works for me, but…directly after this evolution crashes with a segmentation fault:

    Apr 27 17:40:19 eduard-TECRA-S11 kernel: [ 2334.784111] pool[4947]: segfault at 0 ip 00007ffd22abb429 sp 00007ffd0d3ef4e0 error 4 in[7ffd22aa6000+37000]

  17. Carlos / May 13 2013 16:54

    Congrats, works perfectly for me.

  18. drac / Jun 3 2013 21:41

    Worked beautifully. Thanks, sir

  19. Richard Schwarting / Jul 5 2013 00:34

    While this had solved my problem in GNOME 3.6, I just updated to GNOME 3.8 and this no longer works for me. Does it work for anyone else here?

  20. Anonymous / Jul 7 2013 23:52

    Thanks. Works fine on Fedora 19

  21. Злате Ј. (@Kvizii) / Jul 9 2013 13:24

    Anyone have problem with Google Calendar? I want to sync multiple calendars that I have in my account, but only “Personal” is displayed in Evolution. Anyone have a solution?

  22. Amir Masoud (@amirmasoudabdol) / Jul 10 2013 22:37

    Thanks! :)

  23. Anonymous / Jul 31 2013 21:41

    Thanks, it works fine in Fedora 18

  24. Anonymous / Aug 3 2013 22:53

    Thank you :-)

    • Anonymous / Aug 3 2013 22:54

      I forgot to say: schroedinger’s cat (fed.19) – it took some seconds (patience…) then it worked really fine.

  25. a k'wala (@akwala) / Aug 12 2013 21:43

    Gnome 3.8, Ubuntu 13.04.
    Upon signing on to GOA w/ 2-factor auth, the GOA entry in the Login keyring, as seen in Seahorse, had key-value pairs w/ the following keys: ‘authorization_code’, ‘access_token’, ‘access_token_expires_at’, ‘refresh_token’. There wasn’t a key named ‘password’, so I added it and set its value to an app-specific Google password. I continue to get the notifications about not being connected to my online account.

    • Anonymous / Aug 5 2014 14:13

      same for me on Fedora 20 Gnome 3.10.4 … did you find a solution?

      • Ben M / Aug 14 2014 03:18

        Ditto here… last f#*%ing straw for Gnome3 (this and the terrible things they’ve done to nautilus)… I’ve put up with a lot of c%@p so far but I’m out… my solution: new window manager.

  26. Anonymous / Sep 10 2013 16:39

    THX, it was just enought to replace password in seahorse. It’s finally working again :)

  27. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 22:24

    Thank you, you saved my day (and night as this kind of problem always haunt me in my dreams ^^)

  28. lux209 / Nov 19 2013 23:14

    Thanks !!

  29. Sri Ram / Nov 26 2013 05:22

    It works in Fedora 19… Thanks…

  30. Sri Ram / Nov 26 2013 05:23

    Reblogged this on Sriram's Weblog.

  31. Anonymous / Dec 12 2013 12:27

    why the F=)#& does my password show up there unencrypted. I never want to see that!

  32. Stephen Partington / Aug 7 2014 23:34

    They sadly rebroke this even further as of 3.10 and it requires you to not use an application specific password.


  1. Blog stiamo partendo - Andrea Salvatori
  2. Checklist of things to do on reinstalling Ubuntu | DomPress
  3. Why doesn’t gnome-online-accounts accept a Google “application specific password”? | Some Ubuntu Questions and Answers

Leave a Reply (Markdown syntax supported)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: