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Canvas Google Apps LTI authorization failures

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  • UPDATE Jan 18, 2018  —Still broken. No word on a fix....
  • UPDATE Aug 8, 2017  —Canvas recognizes this is a bug and is working on a fix (Cases #01843701, #01865357, #02000557). Not sure how or where to get updates on their progress.
  • UPDATE Aug 4, 2017  —Still broken. Still no error message suggesting the user switch browsers or login to Chrome with another account. Still many confused users getting frustrated because Canvas doesn't work Smiley Sad.
  • UPDATE Apr 24, 2017 —Still broken. Not answered. Don't let the "Assumed Answered" label fool you.
  • UPDATE Apr 20, 2017 —Still broken. No movement to fix on Instructure's part. They say it's "working as designed." If so, their design that forces students to jump through more hoops (see comments below) to access course content is a bad one. The goal should be to minimize navigation efforts and maximize access to content. The Canvas Google Apps LTI fails in this criteria.

ORIGINAL ISSUE, AS IT STILL STANDS — The Canvas Google Apps LTI authorization is failing on me in Chrome in one course (not others), and observed with faculty. Anyone else? Workarounds?The chat with Instructure support helped determine that it worked in Firefox but not Chrome. They suspected it may have something to do with being logged into multiple accounts. His boss suggested that the Google Apps LTI might need to be re-setup (by our Admin). 

Here's a screencast of the issue: Canvas Google LTI failures - YouTube 

More troubleshooting:

  1. I cleared all Instructure and Canvas cookies,
  2. then logged out of all Google accounts in Chrome,
  3. then shut down and restarted Chrome.
  4. Then opened afflicted Canvas course (
  5. Still saw no Google content and was asked to Authorize. Authorization fails.


  • works in Incognito mode in Chrome.
  • works in other Canvas courses in Chrome.
  • works in Firefox.

Final bit of troubleshooting:

  • it seems to definitely be the Canvas tool's issue. 
  • a manual Google Doc iFrame embed works fine in Chrome, in that course.
112 Replies
Community Member

Ah. Problem resolved for me. Hope this helps you too,

I was logged into Google Drive with my district Google account (the one I was also authorizing Canvas to access). However, I was logged into my Chrome browser using my personal Google account. Apparently, this was causing a conflict. Frankly, I don't even remember logging into Chrome, but it's a setting that remains even when you restart your device. 

So once I logged into Chrome with the same Google account in Chrome, Drive, and the Google App LTI authorization, the Google Apps LTI worked fine. 

218057_Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.49.54 AM.png


Thanks . Yes, this has always worked for me. The problem is that we'd have to explain this to 60,000 users who are used to not having a problem using multiple Google accounts — they don't have to do this with other Google API integrations; just Canvas. This special exception for Canvas, imho, should be removed as a matter of removing barriers for learning. 

In the meantime, the other workaround — that doesn't require users to change ingrained behavior to access course content — is to use iFrame embedding.

I surely hope Instructure can recognize that adding this barrier for student-access to content is a step backwards that should be done correctly.



View solution in original post


Here's what a standard embedded iframe looks like in a page vs what the Canvas LTI integration looks like:

Google LIT Integration fail


Another Update: 

Hi Aiona, 
What is the problem?
I see this behavior (Canvas Google LTI Authentication failure loop) in *any* course, whether I am enrolled as a student or instructor — if I am logged into a Chrome browser window with my personal Gmail account. If I log into the browser window with my campus Google Apps account, it works fine.
219085_GoogleLTI Fail work_notwork.png
Why is this a problem then? (Why not just log in to Chrome with your campus account?)
Logging into Chrome with my campus account is a workaround for me, but this re-education is not a workaround that easily scales to our >60,000+ users — most of whom have multiple Google accounts, and most of whom do not realize they're "logged in" — let alone with what account they're logged in with. Their other Google usage lets them be logged in with multiple accounts, and they switch back and forth at the tab (or web app) level, vs. the browser window level. So, since this isn't required in their other Google use, it shouldn't be a problem here either.
tab-level vs. window-level login
It seems that the Canvas Google LTI Integration pulls from the browser window login rather than from the tab or web app login. This seems to be non-standard. Perhaps if the LTI either asked in Settings which account to connect to, or pulled from the tab level login, it would not be an issue for UW-Madison.

Canvas responds: 

"When a user logs in to their account, a session cookie is saved in the browser to identify a user's session (; this cookie won't be destroyed until a user logs out. Since cookies can be shared between domains, if the same user requests to authenticate to any other Google hosted or third-party apps, it recognizes the account that they are trying to log into because of the cookie. Those keys won't be removed until they reach their expiration date. 

A mismatch in credentials could result in poor user experience and loss of privacy. I highly recommend adding accounts to the browser to avoid the issue you are encountering.

See online guide:

Let me know if you have any other questions."


My response: 


As you can see in this screen capture, I already have multiple accounts for the browser. Adding multiple accounts to the browser does not fix the issue I am encountering.
Notice that I'm logged into the browser with my personal Google account, and not with my Google Apps for Education ( account:
Now notice that I can access my Google Apps for Education ( account's Google Drive space — while still logged into the browser window with my personal account:
Inline image 2
I imagine that most of our 60,000+ users do not pay attention to which account they use to log into Chrome. Most probably use the account they've used for years before coming to our campus. Those who access Canvas with their personal Android phone most certainly use their personal account. They do not need to log out of, or change accounts at the browser level to access any of their Google material. They do that at the tab level. I would like to do the same thing with the Canvas Google LTI, so I don't have to explain to each of them that Canvas is different than every other Google experience they've had."
Community Coach
Community Coach


I thought I would check in with you regarding this topic.  It looks like there hasn't been any activity in this particular discussion topic for a while.  In reading through your postings and the feedback from others, have you been able to completely resolve this issue with the Google Apps LTI, or are you still looking for some help from members of the Canvas Community?  Your most recent response above from March 3rd has some broken images, and so I'm not sure if you'd be able to re-upload those so that the Community could help you, if needed.  Because there hasn't been any new activity in this particular discussion topic for over a month, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  I hope that's okay with you.  Looking forward to hearing from you, John.


Thanks Chris Hofer  I too am disappointed that Instructure is ignoring this issue. There has been no resolution. I still get regular complaints from faculty who get complaints from students about the extra steps Instructure has added for them to access course material.

I've updated the original post to this effect, and I've reuploaded the images to the earlier comment. Please unmark the "Assumed Answered" as I'm still hoping for a resolution to this issue. And forgive me for hoping that the Community forum was a place that Instructure monitored, or student accessibility was a thing they cared about Smiley Sad.


And in that same vein, here's my first attempt at a troubleshooting Doc to share with my users. I've enabled comment-rights via this link, so please let me know what I've left out or what might be improved as I'm welcoming as much feedback as possible so that it's comprehensive and accurate.

Don't know if you're a music fan, John, but right now a lyric from Modest Mouse's Gravity Rides Everything accurately describes my day with Google LTI:

Early, early in the morning
It pulls all on down my sore feet
I want to go back to sleep . . .


This is great ssimpso4! Thanks!