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Google Authenticator Now Syncs One-Time Passcodes to Your Account

This feature will come in handy if you ever lose your phone. Here's how to enable it.

imad-khan
imad-khan
Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
Expertise Google, Internet Culture
Imad Khan
2 min read
Google Authenticator logo on phone screen.

Google Authenticator gets a new update that allows it to store one-time passwords. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google Authenticator, the app that gives your accounts additional security by generating timed codes for two-factor authentication, will now be able to store those one-time passwords on your Google account. In a blog post on Monday, the tech giant said the feature is available on both iOS and Android but may take some time to roll out to all devices. 

Google said it's implementing this feature after hearing from people about the complexities of losing a device that had Authenticator installed. If you can't log in to your Gmail account because your phone with Authenticator was stolen, then trying to gain access becomes a major headache. To remedy this, Google Authenticator now stores one-time passwords on a person's Google account. 

Google said this change not only better protects people from being locked out, but also increases both convenience and security. The company didn't detail exactly how this beefs up security. 

Google is still pushing people toward a passwordless future. The search giant, Apple and Microsoft have banded together in the FIDO Alliance, which is short for "fast identity online." The idea is to have websites ditch passwords altogether and allow people to sign in with fingerprints, face scans or a phone. Given vulnerabilities posed by weak passwords against an onslaught of hacking attempts, getting rid of passwords could be key in fighting bad actors. The switch to a passwordless future will take time, though, and millions of people will still need to rely on authentication apps like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. Considering Microsoft Authenticator already has had cloud backups on Android since 2019, Google is late to the game. 

Google didn't respond to a request for additional comment. 

How to enable one-time password syncing 

  1. Update the Google Authenticator app.
  2. Follow the prompts to sign in to Google.
  3. Enable syncing.