Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the best practices today to secure your accounts. It is as easy as setting up your mobile number to receive verification codes via SMS, downloading an app on your phone to receive codes, or using a physical hardware token. However, among these, using an app to receive verification codes on your phone, is probably the simplest and the most reliable option.
Although there are numerous 2FA apps available on the app store, Google Authenticator is one of the most downloaded and used apps on both Android and iOS. That’s mainly because of its simplistic approach and an easy to use interface.
Considering you already use Google Authenticator as a 2FA app on your phone and are planning to switch to a new phone, here’s a short guide on how to move Google Authenticator to the new phone without losing access to your accounts.
Step-1: Install the Google Authenticator app on your new phone (Android or iPhone) from the respective app store.
Step-2: Visit Google’s 2-Step Verification site on your computer and log in to your account.
Step-3: Click on ‘Change Phone’, below the Authenticator app section for your existing phone and select your device type between Android or iPhone.
Step-4: Open the Google Authenticator app on the new phone and tap on Begin Setup > Scan barcode.
Step-5: Point your phone to the QR code that appears on the computer, and enter the six-digit code in the pop-up window and hit ‘Verify’.
You have now successfully moved Google Authenticator to your new phone.
However, a thing to keep in mind is that, as soon as the new phone is set up with Google Authenticator, all the codes generated on the previous phone will no longer be valid. Therefore, when switching to a new phone, you should always add all your accounts in the Authenticator app on the new phone before deleting them from the old phone. It is also advised to set up an alternative, a second step for authentication, which can come into play when the first mechanism fails or when you are locked out of your account. One of the best solutions is to download the ‘Backup codes’. You can use these when you have set up verification via an SMS code and are traveling to a location with no network coverage.