How to Fix an iCloud Attention Required Error Message on Windows 10

You just entered your iCloud account details to the Calendar, People, or Mail apps on Windows 10. Usually, these apps start syncing your data soon afterward, but what if you receive an 'Attention Required' error instead.

And no matter how much you re-enter your password, the stupid error just won’t go away. It’s maddening, I know, but it happens for a reason.

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Apple recently broadened its security protocols, which means that all third-party apps now require two-factor authentication before you can successfully sign in.

So How Can You Fix This Error?

Simple. It involves generating an ‘app-specific password.' Just consider it a unique password created for individual apps so Apple knows that it's really you who's doing the signing in.

However, there’s just one catch. Native Apple apps don’t require any two-factor authentication if you don’t have the feature enabled, but obviously, it’s a must on third-party apps. And since generating app-specific passwords require two-factor authentication enabled in the first place, that means you’ve got to start using two-factor authentication whether you like it or not.

Generate App-Specific Password

If you’ve already set up two-factor authentication, then it’s just a matter of generating an app-specific password for the Calendar, People, or Mail apps on your Windows 10 PC.

To do that, you need to access the Apple ID management portal either via Safari on your iOS device or through a browser on your PC. However, performing the task on a desktop is recommended so that the two-factor authentication code required while signing in doesn't get in your way.

Note: Don't have two-factor authentication set up? Skip to the next section for a detailed walkthrough on how to activate the feature.

Step 1: Sign into the Apple ID management portal.

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Step 2: Since you’ve enabled two-factor authentication, you need to insert the code shown on your trusted iOS device to proceed.

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Step 3: Under the Security section of the management portal, click Generate Password under App-Specific Passwords.

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Note: You won't see the option to generate app-specific passwords if you don't have two-factor authentication enabled.

Step 4: Add a label into the pop-up box shown on-screen — for example, add People, Mail, or Calendar. Next, click Create.

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Note: The label lets you easily identify generated passwords later on, which is pretty useful if you want to revoke access to a particular app.

Step 5: Your app-specific password should now be displayed. Do not click Done until you re-enter the password since you won't be able to view it again if you insert it wrongly.

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Step 6: Launch the problematic app on your PC, and then click the Sync error.

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Step 7: Click Fix Account next to the Attention Required error message.

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Step 8: Enter the app-specific password into the section under Password and click Save.

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Step 9: Wait for a brief moment while your account syncs with iCloud.

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Voila! That’s it. The app should now function normally with your iCloud credentials. 

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Note: Separate app-specific passwords are required for each app that you add your iCloud credentials to. Consider using identifiable labels when doing so. To revoke access if required, click the Edit button under the Security section within the Apple ID management portal — you should see all generated app-specific password labels listed within.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Setting up two-factor authentication requires an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod. While you can also enable the feature on a Mac, it's best that you do it on an iOS device since you can receive two-factor authentication codes wherever you go.

Note: The device that you use to enable two-factor authentication becomes a trusted device to which you receive all verification codes.

Step 1: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, go to the Settings screen. Once inside, tap your iCloud profile name, and then tap Password & Security.

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Step 2: Under Two-Factor Authentication, tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication, and then insert the password for your Apple ID when prompted.

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Step 3: On the Apple ID Security pop-up box that shows up subsequently, tap Continue.

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Step 4: Either confirm your credit card details or answer two security questions to proceed.

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Step 5: Insert a phone number — preferably, add the one already associated with your Apple ID. Next, select between Text Message or Phone Call and tap Next. 

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Step 6: You should receive a code to your mobile — insert it when prompted. You may need to sign in with your Apple ID again to proceed.

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Step 7: Insert the passcode for your device. Since this is now a trusted device, you need to use the same passcode when accessing stuff like your Apple ID and saved passwords once you sign in on a new device.

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Step 9: If you had an iCloud Keychain security code in place, you may need to enter that to finalize the two-factor authentication procedure as well.

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You've now set up two-factor authentication, which means that you can generate app-specific passwords via the Apple ID management portal starting immediately.

Phew, That’s It …

I really don’t know whom to blame for this error. Apple? Microsoft? Really, instead of a simple error message, there really should be some indication as to what causes the issue in the first place. Would’ve definitely saved a lot of time.

At least, the whole thing is easily fixable, but it’s a definite bummer if you hate two-factor authentication. I do, but more security is always good since having only a password just doesn't cut it anymore.

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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.