Google Authenticator App For 2FA
You can protect your online accounts in a number of ways, but one of the best and simplest is authenticator app for 2FA. To prevent unauthorized access, an authentication code is sent to your phone whenever the account is accessed. Two-factor authentication apps like Authy and Google Authenticator can keep hackers out even if they get a hold of your password. (You could have a code texted to you, but this is far less safe since that so-called SIM hacking is on the rise.)
Of course, there’s a catch. The second factor of authentication (2FA) employs a key that is unique to your phone, so if you lose or damage your phone you won’t be able to just reinstall the app on a new one and continue where you left off. The app’s key code must also be transferred to the new phone. Methods for dealing with this issue vary amongst authentication applications. In this piece, I’ll examine Google Authenticator app for 2FA, covering its pros and cons, the simplest way to back up your data, and how to reset your password in the event that your phone is lost or stolen (like a broken phone).
Two-factor authentication may be set up with Google Authenticator by scanning a QR code created by the app on a different device using your phone’s camera or by
inputting a key code. Unless you need to transfer the app to a new phone, which is not likely, it’s a simple procedure. You can’t just get a new phone, reinstall Google Authenticator, and log in with it since authenticator app for 2FA employs security keys that are device-specific. Instead, you’ll need to copy the keys to the replacement program.
Using the Authenticator app’s dedicated transfer option to move your keys from one phone to the other is the simplest approach, especially if you use authenticator app for 2FA with many applications. There are two presumptions, however: one, that you have access to both the old and new phone, and two, that you use Android devices. We’ll move on to discussing alternatives if you find that none of these presumptions applies to your case. First, let’s go through the simple approach.
Share your Authenticator keys on Android
The Authenticator software on an Android device allows you to export your credentials in the form of a QR code, making it easy to transfer them to a new device.
- Install Google Authenticator on your new phone.
- Tap “Get started.”
- Tap “Scan a QR code.” You’ll get a grid and instructions to “Place QR code within red lines.”
- Open Google Authenticator on your older phone.
- Tap on the three dots on the top right of the screen and select “Transfer accounts”
- Select “Export accounts.” You may be asked to verify your identity via a fingerprint, password, or another method.
- Uncheck which accounts you don’t want to export. Tap “Next.”
- You’ll be shown a QR code. Center it in the grid in your new phone.
- You should see the imported app now listed in your Google Authenticator app in the new phone. (Note: the app will not be deleted from your old phone.)
Use your backup codes
You may be requested to print or otherwise preserve a set of backup codes when you initially set up Google Authenticator. And you should save them; either print them off and store them in a secure location, or convert them to PDF format and store the PDF in a location where no one else can get to them. If your phone ever breaks, these numbers will let you get back in the game by authenticating your replacement device. That is, provided you haven’t misplaced them.
This is also how you set up your keys on a brand new iPhone. Even if you forgot to do it during installation, you may still retrieve the backup codes. This requires accessing your Google account and following the instructions below.
- Click on “Security” in the left-hand column.
- Scroll down to and select “2-Step Verification.” You’ll probably have to enter your password.
- Scroll down to “Backup Codes” and click on “Show Codes.”
- You’ll get a list of 10 codes. Each code can be used once; if you use them all, you can get more by clicking on “Show Codes” and then on “Get New Codes.”
Take a screenshot of the barcode
A screenshot of the barcode generated for each 2FA-secured app might serve as a backup in the event that you lose your phone. If you’ve lost your secondary authentication codes but have a snapshot of the QR barcode you used to set up your app, you may use it to log in to a new device.
It’s as easy as putting the screenshot on your computer, downloading Google Authenticator, and scanning the barcode with the plus sign on your new phone. (You can use the setup key code if you made a note of it.) If you follow these steps for each of your applications, you’ll be good to go.
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