How to backup and restore your one-time codes in Google Authenticator
If you use Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication, you know how frustrating it can be to lose the device that stores your codes. You would have to reauthorize all your linked apps or scan a QR code again to access them. But not anymore.
Google has rolled out an update to Authenticator for Android and iOS that lets you store backups of your codes in your Google account. This way, you can easily restore them on a new device without losing access to your accounts.
To enable this feature, you need to have the latest version of the app installed on your device. Then, follow the prompts to sign into Google and turn on syncing. You can also manage your synced devices from the app settings.
Why this feature matters for your security
Authenticator is one of the most popular apps for generating one-time codes for two-factor authentication. It adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring you to enter a code from the app after entering your password.
However, some people may avoid using two-factor authentication because they are worried about losing their device or switching to a new one. With the new cloud syncing feature, Google Authenticator aims to reduce those fears and make two-factor authentication more convenient and reliable.
Of course, you still need to protect your Google account from unauthorized access, as anyone who can sign into it can also access your Authenticator codes. You can use Google’s security checkup tool to review your account settings and make sure they are up to date.
What’s next for Google Authenticator
Google is not stopping at cloud syncing for Authenticator. It is also working on password-free logins that use technologies like passkeys. These are physical or virtual keys that can authenticate you without requiring a password or a code.
However, until these technologies become widely available and adopted, Google recognizes that many people still rely on one-time codes for two-factor authentication. The Authenticator update is a welcome improvement that promises to make your online security easier and safer.