Â How to Stop Third Party Apps Reading my Gmail Messages?
While it's true that many people grant access permissions to third party apps that end with them potentially having read and write access to your Gmail account and the messages therein, that doesn't mean they're actually doing so. The key word here is potentially. So I think its important not to be too alarmist about whats going on.
Google has been working on its security and privacy features for the entire life of the company and as time has passed, we have gained a lot more insight into exactly what's going on and a lot more control over what data and information “ if any “ we want to share with third parties. But again, lets start by emphasizing that this has so far proven benign in the Google account world.
But let's have a look anyway! To start, go to your Google Accounts home page. That's found at https://myaccount.google.com/ if you want to type it in rather than trust my clickable link. Its okay, I get it.
When you get there, it's a bright, cheery page:
Definitely an area worth exploring when you have some time, but let's stay focused on this task. Click on the first major category Sign-in & Security.
Now you'll see another big screen of options:
I strongly suggest you veer away for a minute or two and open up the Security Check-up in a different window in your browser (try command-click on the link) and check all of those settings out. Done? Close that window and youre back with us exploring Gmail third party app access.
What you want is actually on the left menu area, not in the main window. Letâ€™s look just a bit closer:
Itâ€™s that last option that you want to click on:Â Apps with account access. Honestly, just thinking that there are third party apps with access to my various Google account areas makes me get a bit itchy!
Hereâ€™s what you see, though since it lists Google apps too, youâ€™ll probably not get much information from this particular view:
Where the fun begins is when you click on the blue â€œMANAGE APPSâ€ link on the lower left. Now you get more information from which you can make an informed decision about which apps should have access:
Check out the third entry on my list: Boomerang for Gmail. Itâ€™s a third party app and, as the page shows, it â€œhas access to Gmailâ€. Well, hmmm, I tried the Boomerang service a few years ago but certainly donâ€™t use it now, so I donâ€™t need it to retain access to my Gmail!
To remove permission or just to learn more about whatâ€™s happening, simply click on the entry. A new info window appears:
Read that info carefully:Â BoomerangÂ has â€œread, send, delete and manageâ€ access to my email. Now the purpose of the app is to let you defer sending messages, so it needs to be able to read (to save your pending message) and send (when the time comes to actually send it) so thereâ€™s nothing nefarious there, butâ€¦ if Iâ€™m not using Boomerang anyway, why grant this access to the third party app?
To shut it down simply click on the big blue â€œREMOVE ACCESSâ€ link on the top right. Youâ€™ll get a confirmation dialog:
Ayup, thatâ€™s the plan, Stan. Click on â€œOKâ€ to proceed and youâ€™ve just taken one step towards cleaning up and streamlining what third party apps have access to your Gmail account. Nicely done.