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by John W. Simek, Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Transfer Google Authenticator Data to a New Phone

September 3, 2020

It's not the last time I will say that everyone should be using two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever you can. Many implementations of 2FA only allow receipt of a code via SMS text message. Typically, when you login from an untrusted device you are prompted to enter the code you received via text. Text messages are the least secure of the 2FA implementations. Using an authenticator app such as Authy, Duo, Google Authenticator, etc. is more secure than text messages. However, the authenticator app data is specific to your phone and you can't just install the app on a new replacement phone and expect the app to work properly.

If you are a Google Authenticator user, The Verge has a post that describes how to transfer the keys used by the app to a new phone. If you are an Android user, you can transfer the accounts by exporting them using a QR code generated from the app. An alternative is to use one of the four backup codes that were generated when you first installed Google Authenticator. Another alternative is to rescan any saved QR codes for your accounts. This alternative does mean that you saved a screenshot for each one of the accounts, which is highly unlikely.

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