How to Move Google Authenticator to a New Phone

Switch phones without getting locked out of your accounts

by: - Last updated on: November 22nd, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • Google Authenticator is one of the best 2FA apps to protect your online accounts with two-factor authentication.
  • While using Google Authenticator is easy, moving it to a new device is a little challenging.
  • Check out the steps below to find out how to move Google Authenticator to a new phone without losing access to your accounts.

Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the best internet practices today to secure your online accounts. It’s as easy as setting up your phone number to receive verification codes via SMS, downloading a 2FA app on your phone to generate security codes, or using a physical hardware token for token generation.

how to move google authenticator to a new phone - move google authenticator

While all three of these two-step verification methods work well, using a token-generation app on your phone is probably the simplest, affordable, and most reliable choice.

As such, although there are numerous two-factor authentication apps available on the App Store and Play Store, Google Authenticator is one of the best 2FA apps on both Android and iOS, thanks to its simple functionality and easy-to-use interface.

Considering you already use Google Authenticator for token generation on your Android or iPhone, and are planning to switch to a new phone, here’s a guide on how to move Google Authenticator to the new phone without losing access to your accounts.

Steps to Move Google Authenticator to a New Phone

To move Google Authenticator to a new device, make sure you have access to your old phone and that Google Authenticator is installed and running fine on it.
Assuming you are covered on this front, follow the steps below to move Google Authenticator from your old phone to a new phone:

  1. Download and install the Google Authenticator app on your new phone (Android or iPhone) from the Play Store or App Store, respectively.
  2. Visit Google’s 2-Step Verification site on your computer and log in to your account.
  3. Click on Change Phone below the Authenticator app section for your existing phone and select your device type between Android and iPhone.
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  4. Open the Google Authenticator app on your new phone and tap on Begin Setup > Scan barcode.
  5. Point your phone’s camera to the QR code on your computer and enter the six-digit code in the pop-up window.
  6. Hit Verify.

Moving Google Authenticator Between Phones Made Easy

If you followed the above steps correctly, you should’ve successfully moved Google Authenticator from your old phone to the new phone.

Do note that this process only moves Google Authenticator (and its 2FA code) to your new device. To get authentication codes for all your other 2FA-enabled accounts, you’ll have to manually set up 2FA again or use the export functionality to bulk transfer other accounts from Google Authenticator on your old phone to the newly-setup Google Authenticator on the new phone.

As a safety measure, it’s advised to download/save the backup codes for accounts you’ve enabled 2FA on to ensure you don’t get locked out in case you lose access to your mobile phone or Google Authenticator doesn’t work. Bear in mind, though, that once you use a backup code, it becomes inactive, and you can’t use it again. You can, however, generate a new set of backup codes if you run out of all your backup codes.

As part of a recent update, Google has introduced the new export feature, which makes it easier than ever before to transfer Google Authenticator accounts to a new phone and eliminates the hassle of having to disable/enable 2FA on multiple accounts manually for the same.

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