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Modern Authentication vs. Legacy Authentication: How to know what you’re using.

January 13, 2022

Legacy (or basic) authentication is an old protocol to allow users to login to Microsoft applications/email. This protocol was replaced by modern authentication, which uses Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to provide a more secure experience.

Legacy authentication will be disabled in Microsoft 365 on April 6, 2022.

What does this mean to you?

Some users may still be using legacy authentication to access your Penn Law Email account from your mobile device.

To ensure that you continue to have access to your Penn Law email on your mobile device after April 6 - we recommend using the Outlook app for iOS and Android. Outlook natively supports modern authentication.

Outlook is our recommended and supported application, but other email apps may also work with modern authentication. If you experience problems after April 6:

  • Be sure to verify that your device is running the latest version of the app. Older devices/apps may not work with modern authentication. If you are using Mac/iOS Mail for a MacBook, iPhone, or iPad it is important to check if you are on iOS 11 or later, iPadOS 13.1 or later, and macOS 10.14 or later.
  • If your app/device is up to date, try removing the account from your device and then adding it back.

In addition, be sure you are using an updated version of Microsoft Office.
Office 2016 or later supports modern authentication by default. If you are using macOS, we recommend upgrading to Office for Mac 2016 or later.

If you run into any problems, please contact ITS at You can also use Webmail ( as a backup to access your email if you have any problems.

If you are still unsure, there are a few ways you can check if you are using modern vs. legacy authentication

Microsoft outlines a few methods you can try. One way is to check your Authentication dialog box by signing out and then signing back into the application. Modern Authentication will display a web-based login page (like the example below) and will require Multi-Factor Authentication.

Modern Authentication for Penn Law

Legacy or Basic Authentication will present a simple credential window like below.

Basic Authentication Window

If you are using the Outlook client on Windows you can also manually check the connection status dialog box, by CTRL + right-clicking the Outlook icon in the system tray, and choosing Connection Status.

Connection Status

The Authn column in the Outlook Connection Status dialog shows the value of Bearer when Modern Authentication is enabled.

Modern Auth Enabled

When using Legacy authentication, the Authn column in the Outlook Connection Status dialog shows the value of Clear.

Basic Auth Enabled

If you do see the value of Clear, you will want to check your version of Office and search for any updates. From there you will open any Office app, such as Outlook, and go to File > Office Account and then Click “Sign Out” and then close the app.

Office Sign Out

Open the app again and if you are not prompted to sign in, go to File > Office Account and click “Sign In”. If you are met with the web based dialog box you are now using Modern Authentication.

Office Sign in