There is no denying the fact that, among different email services available on the internet, Google’s Gmail is one of the most popular services of the lot. And rightly so, thanks to a wide range of features that it offers, in addition to an entire suite of productivity apps, which makes the entire experience more convenient and adaptable. As a result, a large part of our digital life is dependent on the service. And therefore, adding an extra layer of protection to ensure its security, is one of the first things you should do right away. So, in this article, we take you through the steps to enable Two-Factor Authentication on your Google account.
For the purpose of this guide, we will be using Google’s Authenticator app, which you can download on both Android and iOS from Google Play Store and Apple App Store, respectively. Although there are a few other third-party 2FA apps on the internet, we find Authenticator reasonably effective and easy-to-use. Not to mention, the app does not just work for Google accounts, but you can also use it to enable Two-Factor Authentication across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well. A reliable alternative for Google Authenticator which has its own set of advantages is Authy. Let’s stick to Google Authenticator for this guide.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Google Account
1. Go to myaccount.google.com and sign in to your account.
2. Tap on Security from the options on the left and scroll down to the Signing in to Google section.
3. Here, select 2-Step Verification, and on the next screen, tap on Get Started.
4. Now, you will be prompted to enter your account password again. Enter your password to confirm it’s you.
5. Next, enter your active phone number, and under How do you want to get codes, select either Text message or Phone call and hit NEXT.
6. On the next screen, enter the code you just received on your phone number and hit NEXT.
7. Once the code you entered is verified, tap on TURN ON.
8. Now, you will 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.
9. Now, depending on which device you have (Android or iOS), select one and tap NEXT.
10. Next, open the Authenticator app on your device and hit the + icon on the top-right and select Scan barcode.
11. Point the device’s camera to the computer with the QR code and hit NEXT.
12. On the next screen, enter the 6-digit code you see on your phone and tap VERIFY.
Two-Factor Authentication should now be enabled on your Google account. Further, 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 you have downloaded the Backup codes for such instances. To do this, under Available second steps, tap on SHOW CODES below Backup codes.
From here, you can either download or print these codes. Also, do note that each code can be used only once. So, in case you run out of all the ten codes, you can generate new ones from here.
Now that Two-Factor Authentication is enabled on your Google account, every time you sign in to your account, you will be required to enter the 6-digit key as soon as you enter your account password. If you use a particular device for the most part 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 the verification again-and-again on this device. However, we suggest that you 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 are required to move the Authenticator app to your new phone. Although that comes 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.