Google Authenticator: More security thanks to 2FA – how it works!

The Google Authenticator is one of the most convenient ways to improve the security of your user accounts. The option to synchronize two-factor authentication (2FA) between different smartphones using a Google account was recently added. Below you will find out how to do this in just a few steps.

Until recently, one major drawback of using Google Authenticator was the inability to automatically synchronize token generation across multiple devices. While you could manually export and import accounts in the app, if the phone was lost or stolen, users could temporarily lose access to their accounts.

Syncs 2FA codes between smartphones using Google Authenticator

The new automatic synchronization is based on the Google account linked to the device. It’s optional, however, if you don’t want to sync your security codes with Google’s servers – mostly because Google doesn’t enforce any other type of verification before syncing (unlike Authy). Here’s how to sync your 2FA tokens with Google Authenticator:

  • Update or install the Google Authenticator(Android | iOS) app.
  • On the welcome screen, select the Google account you want to sync 2FAs with.

If you skip the account selection on the first run, enabling syncing is as easy as switching accounts in another Google app:

  • Click on the profile icon located in the top right corner.
  • Select the Google account you want to sync with 2FA.

In both scenarios, the presence of a green cloud icon in the upper right corner signifies that the 2FA codes have been successfully synchronized with the Google account. The next time you open the Google Authenticator on a new device, simply select the same Google account for the 2FA generators to work on the new device.

2FA: How to stop online synchronization with Google Authenticator

If you want to stop syncing code generation in Google Authenticator, the steps are similar:

  • Click on the profile picture located in the top right corner.
  • Choose Use without an account.
  • Confirm the action by tapping the Next button.
  • Tech companies are slowly starting to adopt passkeys as a replacement for passwords and 2FAs. Apparently, two-factor authentication will not disappear anytime soon, because even fewer services support the new security standard.

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