If you are using the Google Authenticator (Google 2FA) app on your smartphone or tablet, you should make sure you have a backup of every account you have listed. If you don’t have a backup plan in place and your 2FA device is lost, stolen or simply breaks, you will almost certainly lose access to your accounts forever. So follow along as this article guides you through the process of making a safe reliable Google 2FA backup.
Google two factor authentication is one of the best ways to protect your accounts from forced intrusion and unauthorized logins. It’s free, easy to set up, and doesn’t make logging into services much more complicated. The only downside to Google 2FA is that if the device you are using it on is lost, damaged or stolen, you’ll lose access to your accounts, in some cases, permanently.
Thankfully it’s possible to make a complete backup of your Google 2FA just in case something happens to your device. Although the Google 2FA app doesn’t offer any option to make a backup, it can still be done and doesn’t require any third-party apps or potentially risky processes.
How Do You Backup Google Authenticator? (Make a Backup of Google 2FA)
The Google 2FA backup process is very easy, though may be a little time consuming if you have 2FA active on a lot of accounts. To begin, you will first have to sign into the account you have Google 2FA active on and disable it. Once you have disabled 2FA for an account, re-enable it immediately and make a copy of the QR code and text that accompanies it, a screenshot of the information works best. Once you have the info saved, scan the code into your device and finish enabling 2FA.
Now move onto the next account listed in the Google 2FA app and repeat the process. Once you have made a copy of all the 2FA codes, the best thing to do is move them to one folder, encrypt them, then store them on an external device or two. If you haven’t encrypted a device before, check out our guide on encryption here.
If your device fails or is lost or stolen all you have to do to get access to your accounts is rescan the codes into Google 2FA. Alternatively, if you have more than one device, you can scan the code with multiple devices, so you have access from two phones/tablets. This method is probably not the one you were expecting, however, it is the best and most secure way to make sure you always have access to accounts that have Google 2FA protection.
How Do You Access an Account If You Lose Google 2FA?
In a lot of situations, if you lose your Google 2FA information, you won’t be able to access your account ever again. However, In some rare/lucky cases (depending on the service) it is possible to regain access by emailing the service and providing the appropriate identification to prove you are the rightful owner of the account. Cryptocurrency exchanges that require verification are generally capable of removing 2FA for you, so long as you can prove without a doubt you are the owner, which usually takes a copy of your Passport.