New Update Google Authenticator adds Cloud Sync for your 2FA Codes

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Google Authenticator used to be a popular option for using two-factor authentication codes on mobile devices, but apps like Authy and 1Password are much better options now. Google is trying to change that by fixing Authenticator’s primary limitation.

Google Authenticator doesn’t support cloud synchronization, so setting up two-factor codes on multiple devices required scanning them with each device (though the codes can be migrated), and losing a device could be catastrophically bad. That limitation has led to alternatives like Authy, Microsoft Authenticator, and 1Password becoming more popular, all of which have additional features that are missing in Google’s app. Google also hasn’t worked on Authenticator much in recent years, with 2FA popup prompts now serving as the recommended option for most accounts.

Surprisingly, Google just announced an overhaul for Authenticator, complete with cloud syncronization support and a new icon. Two-factor codes are now backed up to your Google account, which the company says “means users are better protected from lockout and that services can rely on users retaining access, increasing both convenience and security.” The app also has a completely new icon, ditching the vault-like design for a multi-colored asterisk. Personally, I liked the old icon better.

Cloud syncronization is definitely needed, especially in a world where phones can be easily lost or stolen, but Authenticator likely won’t be the most secure option. Google accounts are still based on passwords and any number of two-factor methods, including SMS-based 2FA, while alternatives like 1Password are testing no passwords at all.

You can download Google Authenticator 6.0 for iPhone and Android starting today. If you don’t see the update yet, it might still be rolling out.

Source: Google Security Blog
 

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Google Authenticator has added cloud synchronization support to its 2FA code service, allowing users to access their codes on multiple devices without the need to scan them on every device. The new version of the app allows users to back up two-factor codes to their Google accounts, and a new icon has been introduced. However, the authentication method may not be the most secure as it is still based on passwords and may include SMS-based 2FA, which is not recommended. Alternatives such as Microsoft Authenticator and 1Password offer additional features and may be more secure options.
 
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Trident

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You're way too late to the party Google Some of us have already left you Because You had No cloud synchronization I'm one X Google Authenticator User That won't be back :)
I already lost all my codes when I bought a new phone (I knew I was forgetting something) and had to contact support for over 10 accounts to regain access… definitely left them. Now using the Apple built-in authenticator features.
 

piquiteco

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I already lost all my codes when I bought a new phone (I knew I was forgetting something) and had to contact support for over 10 accounts to regain access… definitely left them. Now using the Apple built-in authenticator features.
You can backup Google Authenticator normally and it is very simple, you just mirror your phone on your computer or notebook, then go export accounts and select the account you want to export or select all accounts if you prefer. Google Authenticator will show you the QRCODES from the seeds of your accounts that generate the tokens, then you make a screenshot of these QRCODE by your computer or notebook and save in .PNG or .JPEG format. If you have Windows you can use the Capture Tool to make the capture of these QRCODE, then save in a safe place, store on a USB flash drive, external hd, memory card as a backup and voila! If one day you lose your phone you can install Google Authenticator on your device and now scan the QRCODEs directly from your computer screen or go to import and scan the QRCODEs that you have previously saved with Google Authenticator on your flash drive or other location. The interesting thing is that the QRCODE generated by Google Authenticator can be read by other authenticators such as Aegis, 2FAS and others. Therefore, you will not be stuck in the Google Authenticator. ;)
 

Trident

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You can backup Google Authenticator normally and it is very simple
I know, I kept my old phone for days before I give it away and every day I was double and tripple checking that photos, documents, passwords and everything is moved. I always had a feeling I was forgetting something. When I tried logging in to some accounts, I remembered Google Authenticator is what I forgot… but the phone was already reset. 😒
It was a huge hassle and I guess it happens to a lot of people.
 

piquiteco

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I know, I kept my old phone for days before I give it away and every day I was double and tripple checking that photos, documents, passwords and everything is moved. I always had a feeling I was forgetting something. When I tried logging in to some accounts, I remembered Google Authenticator is what I forgot… but the phone was already reset. 😒
It was a huge hassle and I guess it happens to a lot of people.
Yes, it is true it is not people's fault, is what has more complaints from Google Authenticator is exactly why, what happened to you and happened to many people who lost access to their accounts, many people think that Google Authenticator syncs in the cloud, but does not, In fact it only syncs preferences app that is a useless information, you looking at the Google Play Store Google Authenticator it gets a score 3.6 which is very low, precisely because of complaints from people who lost access to their social networks, emails when they changed phones or was lost or stolen. This feature that google has implemented in Google Authenticator now in 2023 of cloud synchronization, should have existed since the app was released in 2010, I believe it would have avoided this inconvenience that many people went through, not to mention password protection app, biometrics that is off topic. The @Jonny Quest mentions in post #3 that also fundamental in authenticator app, unfortunately it seems that Google forgot this feature again, who abandoned the Google Authenticator no longer use, and people who lost access to their accounts, stopped using the 2FA for fear of losing their accounts again. It is sad to see people who lost access to their accounts, I never lost mine, but know how is the frustration of losing access to your account😒
 

SeriousHoax

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I'm so used to, there's got to be an app for that mentality, I didn't even consider there may be something in the Settings. Thank you, upnorth :)
Which phone is it? Does stock Android eg: Google Pixel have app lock feature built-in? Many custom Android OS by various vendors had it for many years but don't remember having in stock Android unless it was added in the last couple of Android versions.
 

piquiteco

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Which phone is it? Does stock Android eg: Google Pixel have app lock feature built-in? Many custom Android OS by various vendors had it for many years.
Xioami devices for example have a feature to protect the app, including hiding the app. And Samsung has the Safe folder where you can install application and be isolated from other apps, which only accesses with password, biometrics, Iris or facial recognition. :)
 

SeriousHoax

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Xioami devices for example have a feature to protect the app, including hiding the app. And Samsung has the Safe folder where you can install application and be isolated from other apps, which only accesses with password, biometrics, Iris or facial recognition. :)
Yeah, they are very helpful and works well. I have always wanted them on Stock Android.
 

piquiteco

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Yeah, they are very helpful and works well. I have always wanted them on Stock Android.
Most devices have this app lock feature, people who don't know they have this feature, often they are located under "Privacy and Security". My father himself, got a cell phone from Xioami last week he didn't know about it, I taught him how to use it in case he needs it.
 

HarborFront

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Xioami devices for example have a feature to protect the app, including hiding the app. And Samsung has the Safe folder where you can install application and be isolated from other apps, which only accesses with password, biometrics, Iris or facial recognition. :)

Samsung one is call Secure Folder

I tried that with my recent S23 Ultra. The problem is when the authenticator app makes a 6-digt code it cannot be copied out from the Secure Folder

So I gave up and use an app instead to protect the PW manager and authenticator app
 

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