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Lost your phone? Google finally fixes problem of getting locked out of apps.

Now, if you lose your phone, you won't need to figure out alternative ways to log into your apps.

Published onApril 24, 2023

Google Authenticator
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Google Authenticator will now back up entries to your Google account.
  • You can access your Authenticator entries from your new device if you lose your phone.
  • You’ll need to update the app for this functionality to start.

Setting up two-step verification (commonly referred to as 2FA, or “two-factor authentication”) is incredibly important if you value privacy and security. Passwords are easy to hack (and you should still strive for strong passwords), but 2FA codes aren’t nearly as simple.

For years, Google’s free app, Google Authenticator, has been a great way to use 2FA codes. There’s only been one problem: your saved entries are tied to your phone’s hardware. That means if you lose your phone, you lose your codes. This is an enormous inconvenience, as a lost phone could mean a permanent lockout of apps you use every day.

Thankfully, Google is finally rectifying this situation. Starting today, your Authenticator codes will now be tied to your Google account, not your phone. From now on, if you lose your phone, you’ll still be able to access your 2FA codes — assuming, of course, you use the same Google account on your new phone as you did on your old one.

However, don’t lose your phone just yet! You will need to update to the latest version of Google Authenticator before your codes attach to your account. This update applies to both Android and iOS.

There might be some of you out there who don’t have your Authenticator app tied to a Google account. If so, you can still transfer your 2FA codes to a new phone using the manual method. Unfortunately, this won’t help if you lose your phone, as this method requires you to have both phones in hand.

We highly recommend taking advantage of this new feature and tying your codes to a Google account. You don’t want to go through the headache of figuring out how to log into an app without a 2FA code. Trust us!

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