Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Update or Transfer Google Authenticator App to new Device

Google has finally updated  the iOS Google Authenticator apps used to generate the secondary validation codes for the 2-step verification for Google accounts (and other services that use the same system). It was long overdue, as the previous version didn't even support the iPhone 5 screen yet. However, it also came with a nasty surprise: it deletes all the accounts you had on the app, forcing you to setup everything again!

I admit that may be necessary for security reasons, but at least a warning notice would be nice so people wouldn't be caught off guard (as you can see in the feedback section of the app, no one was happy about that!)

Thankfully, it's now quite easy to put everything back in working order - at least for Google accounts.

You just need to visit Google Authentication page:

(If you need to login to your Google account, just use one of the previsouly provided backup codes - or, more easily - request a code by SMS sent to your phone.)

In that page you'll find the option to move the mobile app to a a different phone:

While we're simply updating the app, the process is the same as if you were moving to a new device. Once you click on it, you'll get a page with a QR code you can scan with the app to add your new validation account. Tip: if you own more than one smartphone, you can scan it with all your devices so you can use any one of them for authentication - you just have to do it right now, as you won't be able to do it later (unless you save the QR code! :)

In case you had generated app specific codes, for apps that don't support the 2-step system, they'll keep working as before, so... that's about it. A small annoyance that is more than worth it for the added security.

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