How to backup your Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
In case you need to transfer your authenticator from one device to another:
You can transfer your accounts to a new phone by exporting your 2FA via a QR code generated by the Authenticator app using the following steps:
- Install Google Authenticator on your new phone.
- Tap “Get started.”
- Tap “Scan a QR code.” You’ll get a grid and instructions to “Place QR code within red lines.”
- Open Google Authenticator on your old phone.
- Tap on the three dots on the top right of the screen and select “Transfer accounts”
- Select “Export accounts.” You may be asked to verify your identity via a fingerprint, password, or another method.
- Uncheck which accounts you don’t want to export. Tap “Next.”
- You’ll be shown a QR code. Center it in the grid in your new phone.
- You should see the imported app now listed in your Google Authenticator app in the new phone. (Note: the app will not be deleted from your old phone.)
ALTERNATIVE METHOD #1: USE YOUR BACKUP CODES
When you first set up Google Authenticator you are given a set of backup codes to print or save, and you should keep those. If your phone gets lost/stolen you can re-establish your 2FA app by using them.
The same applies to re-establishing your app on an iPhone.
If you missed that step during the installation, you can still get those by opening your Google account and following these steps:
- Click on “Security” in the left-hand column.
- Scroll down to and select “2-Step Verification.” You’ll probably have to enter your password.
- Scroll down to “Backup Codes” and click on “Show Codes.”
Click on “Show Codes” to get your ten backup codes for your Google account.
- You’ll get a list of 10 codes. Each code can be used once; if you use them all, you can get more by clicking on “Show Codes” and then on “Get New Codes.”
ALTERNATIVE METHOD #2: TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF THE QR
Another way to create a 2FA backup, in case you lose your phone, is to take and save a screenshot of the QR code that is created for each 2FA-secured app. If you’ve misplaced your backup codes, but you’ve saved a screenshot of the QR barcode that you originally used to create your app’s authentication, you can use that screenshot to establish your credentials on a new phone.
NOTE: This is a risky method though as anybody who has access to your screenshot with the QR code will be able to use it to recover your 2FA.