Google Authenticator fixes its most annoying flawReading Time: 2 minutes
Account syncing is here.
Google Authenticator, the app that provides one-time codes to securely log in to your accounts, is probably the only app on my phone that I use absolutely every day. It’s a must-have if you want to increase the security of your online accounts, as it makes it harder for hackers to break into them even if they somehow get a hold of your passwords.
Until now, Google Authenticator had an annoying flaw: Your one-time codes were stored only on your phone, which could cause a tremendous number of problems if you didn’t have backup codes. Sure, there was an option to transfer the codes to another device, but that didn’t help much in case your phone were to get broken or stolen (I used to get around this by always having Authenticator on two phones, but this isn’t practical for most users).
Now, Google Authenticator codes are stored in the cloud, meaning you’ll have access to them on any phone, as long as you log into your Google Account.
‘One major piece of feedback we’ve heard from users over the years was the complexity in dealing with lost or stolen devices that had Google Authenticator installed,’ wrote Google’s Group Product Manager Christiaan Brand, in a blog post. ‘With this update we’re rolling out a solution to this problem, making one time codes more durable by storing them safely in users’ Google Account.’
The key word here is ‘safely,’ but not everyone will like the idea of their precious one-time codes being stored in the cloud. The Verge confirmed with a Google rep that account syncing is optional, so you can keep storing your codes locally, on your phone, if you so desire.
To sync your Google Authenticator with your Google Account, just update the app and follow the instructions to log into your Google account within Authenticator. A green cloud icon will show up in the top right to indicate your account is synced with the cloud. The new functionality is there on both iOS and Android.
You’ll also notice that the authenticator now has a new logo, which is very different from the old ‘G that’s also a vault door’ logo, but more in tune with Google’s other apps.
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