With Google Authenticator’s Latest iOS Update, You Really Have No Excuse Now

With Google Authenticator’s Latest iOS Update, You Really Have No Excuse Now
Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

Google Authenticator users on iOS are finally getting a useful security update that their comrades on Android got months ago.

Google Authenticator can be used to add additional security to your accounts with 2-step verification. Update Version 3.1 for Google Authenticator on iOS, which rolled out on Wednesday, adds a number of design and usability features previously introduced on Android back in May. For one, iOS users will now have Dark Mode support. But more importantly, iOS users will now be able to transfer their accounts to a different device, such as when switching between multiple devices or upgrading to a new primary phone.

When Google announced account transfers for Android back in spring, which Google said at the time was one of its “most anticipated features,” the company noted that it ensured that no data was actually beamed to Google’s servers. The transfer of data from one device to another happens only between those two devices.

Multi-factor authentication is one of the best ways to protect your accounts against unauthorised access by requiring not only your password but a specialised code, in this case generated through the Google Authenticator app (though there are plenty of other authenticator apps as well, and the feature may be supported through your password manager if you’re already using one).

To enable Google Authenticator on iOS, you’ll first need to download the app from the app store and make sure 2SV is enabled for your account. In your browser, navigate to your Google Account page, select Security, and click 2-Step Verification under the Signing in to Google tab. You’ll be prompted to enter your account password and enable codes on your phone.

Then, navigate back to the Security menu from your Google Account page, click on 2-Step Verification (which should now be on), and enter your password. Under the Add more second steps to verify it’s you section, you should now see an option to set up your Authenticator app. From the Google Authenticator on your phone, either scan the QR code or select “Can’t scan it?” to manually enter a provided key.

And now that Google’s made it easy-peasy to get 2SV set up on a new device from an old one, we really have no excuses not to be protecting our accounts.