Google’s Gmail is, without a doubt, the most popular email service on the internet, and chances are, it’s also your preferred email provider of choice. In fact, not just email, Google accounts are also crucial for numerous other popular services on the internet, including YouTube, Meet, and apps such as Docs, Sheets, Keep, etc. If you’re an Android user, the Google account is your portal to a wide range of apps and services.

How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Your Google Account - How to Enable Two Factor Authentication on Google Account

As such, since a large part of your digital life is dependent on Google’s services, it’s imperative to ensure the security of your Google account and add an extra layer of security to it to protect it against unauthorized access.

Follow along as we list down the steps to enable two-factor authentication on your Google account.

Steps to Enable 2FA on a Google Account

While there are several two-factor authenticator apps on the Play Store and App Store that can help you set up and manage (2SV) two-step verification on your Google account, we think Google Authenticator is a reasonably good, easy-to-use choice for the majority of users out there.

Not to mention, the app doesn’t just work with Google accounts, but you can also use it to enable 2FA across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well. But for the purpose of this guide, let’s stick to enabling 2FA on Google accounts.

Download Google Authenticator: Android | iOS

Here are the steps to enable two-factor authentication on your Google account:

  1. Go to myaccount.google.com and sign in to your account.
    How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Your Google Account - Enable Two Factor Authentication Google Account 1
  2. Tap on Security from the options on the left and scroll down to the Signing in to Google section.
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  3. Here, select 2-Step Verification, and on the next screen, tap on Get Started.
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  4. When prompted to enter your account password again, enter your password to confirm it’s you.
  5. Enter your active phone number, and under How do you want to get codes, select either Text message or Phone call and hit NEXT. Alternatively, you can tap on Choose another option to choose other modes to verify your login.
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  6. On the next screen, enter the one-time verification code you just received on your phone number and hit NEXT.
  7. Once the code is verified, tap on TURN ON to enable two-factor authentication.
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  8. You’ll now be presented with another option for verification. Scroll down to the section that says Add more second steps to verify that it’s you and tap on SET UP in the Authenticator app option.
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  9. Now, depending on which device you have (Android or iOS), select one and tap NEXT.
    How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Your Google Account - Enable Two Factor Authentication Google Account 7
  10. Open the Authenticator app on your device and hit the + icon on the top-right, and select Scan barcode.
  11. Point your device’s camera to the computer with the QR code and hit NEXT.
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  12. On the next screen, enter the 6-digit code you see on your phone and tap VERIFY.
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If everything went smoothly, two-factor authentication should now be enabled on your Google account.

As a precautionary measure, to ensure that you don’t get locked out of your account in case you delete the authentication entry on your phone mistakenly, make sure to download the backup codes for your account. To do this, under Available second steps, tap on SHOW CODES below Backup codes.

How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Your Google Account - Save Two Factor Authentication Backup codes 1

From here, you can either download these codes to your computer or print them out. Also, do note that each backup code can be used only once. So in case you run out of all the ten codes, you can head back to the 2SV settings for your account and generate a new set of backup codes.

Securing Your Google Account With Two-Factor Authentication

Now that two-factor authentication is enabled on your Google account, every time you attempt to sign in, you’ll be required to enter the six-digit verification code after you enter your account password. If you use a particular device and have to sign in every now and then, you can check the box that says Don’t ask again on this computer to avoid the hassle of entering verification codes again and again on that device. Be sure to do it only on the device that you trust.

Also, since the Authenticator app binds the token (for your account) to your device and not your phone number, every time you switch to a new phone, you’ll be required to move the Authenticator app to your new phone or transfer your Authenticator accounts to a new phone. Although this approach with its share of pros and cons, at large, we believe it’s still a more secure option than having an app that binds the token to your phone number.

However, if you’d like a 2FA app that offers more convenience and supports multi-device synchronization, you might want to check out other 2FA apps.

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