Google Account 2-Step Verification & Google Authenticator

Google’s 2-Step Verification is an optional and relatively simple way to provide an extra level of security for your Google account. While it is not a newly introduced feature, it may not be very widely known or used by most. More information on 2-Step Verification for your Google account is given below, including details on how to setup and use it.

What Is 2-Step Verification For Google Accounts?

With 2-Step Verification setup with your Google account, the first level of security on your Google account is your password, and the second level of security is a verification code. So even if someone finds out your password, they still will not be able to access your Google account without a valid verification code.

How To Sign In With 2-Step Verification For Google Accounts

The verification code is constantly changing, so check for a valid verification code at the same time that you want to log in.

For example, when you sign in to Gmail, you will need to first enter your username and password. You will then be prompted to enter the verification code, and at this time you can check for a current and valid verification code by using:

  • an Android device, BlackBerry device, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad – use the Google Authenticator application to generate the verification code
  • a phone (landline or mobile) – receive the verification code by SMS text message or automated voice call

Using the Google Authenticator app, you will see a countdown clock that shows the time left before the displayed verification code expires. Once that code expires, a new one will be displayed in Google Authenticator with a new countdown clock.

After getting the verification code, enter it to get access to your account. If you like, you can also check the option to have your browser remember the verification code for 30 days.

No internet connection is required to use the Google Authenticator app.

Application-Specific Passwords With 2-Step Verification

Some applications require a Google account login, but are not yet able to handle 2-Step Verification. For these apps, you can set application-specific passwords, that only need to be entered once.

You can create application-specific passwords through your Google account settings. When creating an application-specific password, enter any name you like for the application, since the name is only for your own reference. Copy the password into the application right away, as you can only view the application-specific password at the time you create it. You can revoke or cancel these application-specific passwords at any time.

How To Setup 2-Step Verification For Android

The following instructions are for setting up 2-Step Verification for your Google account, for Android. Instructions for iPhone and BlackBerry users are similar. Screenshots are for Android.

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/accounts/SmSAuthconfig
    Sign in and click on “Start Setup”.
  • Choose how you want to get verification codes: Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, SMS text message or voice call.02a-2-step-verification-google-setup-your-phone-android
    Instructions vary depending on your choice. Basically, for smartphone users, you can proceed to download and install the Google Authenticator application. If choosing to use text messages or voice calls, enter your phone number where you want to receive verification codes.
  • Open and configure the Google Authenticator app by scanning the QR code from the setup screen. If you can’t scan the QR code, then you can manually add your account to Google Authenticator by entering your email address and your secret key. Also, choose the time-based type of key.
    03a-2-step-verification-google-account-no-qr-code
  • Test the verification code from Google Authenticator by entering it into the setup screen and clicking verify.
  • The configuration of your Android phone should now be confirmed and completed.05-2-step-verification-google-phone-configured
  • Configure backup options for accessing your Google account by printing or writing the given backup codes, and entering a backup phone number with which to receive backup codes if needed.
  • Create application-specific passwords for applications that are not able to accept verification codes.08-2-step-verification-google-application-specific-passwords
  • Confirm and turn on 2-Step Verification. You will be signed out of your Google account on all devices and applications. Next time you sign in, 2-Step Verification will be used, and you will need both your password and a valid verification code.

09-2-step-verification-google-confirm-final-turn-on

Problems And Issues With 2-Step Verification

If the verification code is rejected, it may have expired, so just check for the verification code again. If you continue to experience problems and you are using the Google Authenticator app, then one common cause may be that your device’s clock may not be accurate. Correct your device’s clock then try the Google Authenticator app again.

If you lose access to your phone (and the Google Authenticator app), you can still access your Google account with backup codes provided during the 2-Step Verification setup. After logging in with a backup verification code, you can then change your account password or 2-Step Verification settings as needed.

Related Information

» Getting Started with 2-Step Verification

» Installing Google Authenticator on Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or BlackBerry

» Google launches two-factor authentication

One Comment

  1. I have an iPhone and an iPad and I want both to have the ability to verify. All the instructions were not clear. What you have to do is scan the qr code for the iPhone 1st, then enter the 6 digit code. Now before you hit next, scan the qr code with the iPad and enter the 6 digit code. You will find they both work when you go to login to google.

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