Most people very rarely use their email password:. They set up email on their laptop and phone and it just works. This is good until you need it to set up a new phone. At that point, there is a seed of doubt over whether the password you have is the right one

Test your email password with webmail

webmail login screen with error

The best way to test your password is to log into your email account using webmail. Check with your mailbox host to get the correct URL and then log in using your email address and password. When you reach your inbox, you know that the password is correct (so any non-connection problems will be due to another setting).

If you normally use webmail to access your email, either log in using a different browser or clear the password entered by the browser and enter it manually.

If you have to change your email password

For most mailboxes, the password is set in the control panel for the hosting – check their help for details. Make sure your password is long and complex: for typing into a phone, we recommend using 3 unrelated words words with a capital letter, number and special character lodged somewhere in the sequence e.g. sheepbasin26?Cupboard. This is generally easier to type correctly than a random sequence of characters but is still strong as it is long.

Once you have changed you password, you will need to update the credentials for all the devices attached to your mailbox. In most cases, the app will prompt for a password but on occasions, the new password will either not be accepted or will not “stick”. In this case, you need to update the connection settings.

Updating Microsoft Outlook credentials

Although the Microsoft help says that you should enter your new password when prompted but sometimes Outlook just stops syncing but does not ask for a new password. Closing Outlook and restarting your machine may help, but if not, you will need to go round the back.

Mail setup 2021 screen gives you access to the Change Account screen

Click the Windows icon and type “Control panel” and select the control panel when the option appears. At the top of the control panel, search for “Mail” and click on “Mail (Microsoft Outlook)” when the option appears. This brings up the Mail Setup 2021 window.

Change Email Account screen allows you to change your password

Choose the top option, Email accounts… to bring up the Account Settings screen. Select the account you want and click “Change”. Enter your new password and then test that the connection is successful. After testing, use “Next” and “Finish” to close the dialogue box. You will also need to close the trail of windows behind it.

iPhone screen showing setting Mail option.  Use this to update your email password

Changing email password on an iPhone

Go into Settings (the cog) and look for Mail. From the Mail setting screen, keep clicking on “Account” until it lists the email account you want. Then click on the account name until you get to the account credentials. Change the password and then click “Done”.

And on a Mac

On a Mac, choose Preferences from the Mail menu. Accounts is the second tab and your email account should be listed on the left hand size. Click on “Server Settings” to bring up the credentials. You will need to change the password for both incoming and outgoing mail. Close the window to save the new password. You need to close and reopen Mail to make sure it is using the new credentials.