With phishing scammers constantly finding creative ways to trick Gmail users into revealing their passwords, two-factor authentication is an important step in keeping your account secure. But if your Google Authenticator codes suddenly stop working, it could be related to a problem on your phone. So how can you fix Google Authenticator codes that have stopped working?
1. Synchronize the time of the application
Mobile users may find that their Google Authenticator codes don’t work when they sign in to their accounts. And, oddly enough, the problem may have to do with the Google Authenticator time settings.
If your Google Authenticator app is not working, whether on Android or iPhone, there may be a glitch with time synchronization. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix this if Google Authenticator has stopped working. That’s how.
All you have to do is make sure that the time in your Google Authenticator app is synced correctly. Launch the app, tap on the menu button (the three dots on the top right of the screen) and go to settings > Time correction for codes > sync now.
You should find that your Google Authenticator codes are working correctly after this.
Synchronizing the time in the Google Authenticator app will not affect the time settings on your phone.
2. Update the authenticator app
Are you sure that the Authenticator app on your phone has the latest updates installed? How long has it been since you last updated it? If you’re not sure, it might be time for an update.
Updates are not only essential to fix security loopholes, but are also necessary to fix existing or new bugs in software. Outdated app may very well be the reason Google Authenticator failed (and this is why updates are so important). A quick update will clarify if this is indeed the case.
How do you check if your Google Authenticator app is up to date?
- On your Android device, go to the google play store app
- Click on your profile icon at the top right.
- Now select Manage apps and devices.
- Apps with recently available updates are labeled “Update Available.”
- select Update.
If there is a new update available for Google Authenticator, it will be downloaded in a few seconds. Everything should be back to normal if the Authenticator app stopped working due to an update issue.
You should also keep in mind that, in general, it is always better to have automatic updates enabled on your devices. This will prevent any security threats or common bugs that might arise otherwise.
3. Install Google Authenticator on multiple devices
You may be concerned about trusting a single device as your authenticator. For example, you may lose your primary device. Your battery can run out when you need it. Or it could be inaccessible when you travel for some reason. There are many reasons why Google Authenticator might have stopped working.
In these cases, one option is to install Google Authenticator on multiple devices. If you have an old phone that you no longer use, you can use it. Or you can install the app on your tablet or laptop, as well as on your phone.
Setting up two devices with Google Authenticator is pretty basic. First of all, install the app from the Play Store on both devices. Now, navigate to the page to set up two-factor authentication.
You will then see a QR code. Use this QR code first on your primary device and then on your secondary device. Enter the numeric code of any of the devices to confirm if it works.
Both devices will now display the same number codes to sign in. If your primary device is not available, you can use your secondary device instead. If you do this, remember to keep your secondary device in a safe place.
Alternatively, if you recently purchased a new device, you may want to consider moving Google Authenticator to a new phone.
4. Sign in to Google Authenticator using backup codes
When you set up your Google Authenticator app, you have the option to create backup codes in case you lose your original codes or they stop working. These codes are strings of numbers, and you can use each code only once to sign in.
Backup codes are very useful if you lose your device with Google Authenticator installed. Or if the Google Authenticator app is not working for some reason. It’s a good idea to take a copy of your backup codes and keep them in a safe place.
How to generate backup codes on desktop
To generate backup codes for your Google Authenticator app when browsing on a computer, follow these steps:
- go to your Google account two-step verification page heading to Manage your Google account > Security > Two-step verification. You may need to sign in to your account to progress past this point.
- Scroll down to the Add more second steps option to verify that it is your section. Find the backup code subtitle.
- If you have already set up codes, you will see an option to show codes. If not, click Set up.
- The page will generate 10 codes. Each has eight digits.
- You should keep these codes in a safe place; Ideally, you shouldn’t store them on your computer, as this could be a security issue.
- If you have used your codes and need to generate new ones, you can click on get new codes.
- Click Print to print the codes on paper. or click To close to close the window.
How to generate backup codes on Android
Alternatively, if you’re on an Android device, you can generate backup codes another way:
- Go to settings on your Android device.
- Go to Google and then to Manage your Google account.
- select Safety from the menu at the top.
- find the Sign in to Google title and select two-step verification. You may need to sign in to your account.
- Now find the Backup Codes section and tap on show codes to see your codes. Alternatively, if you haven’t set up codes yet, tap Set up.
- From here, you can choose to print your codes or write them down. There is an option to download your codes to your device, but this is not ideal for security reasons. Write the codes down on paper instead: yes, there’s still some risk associated with doing that, but as long as you keep that paper somewhere safe, you should be fine.
- If you have used your codes, you can touch get new codes to create new ones.
How to use backup codes to fix the authenticator
If you ever find that your Google Authenticator app isn’t working and you need to use your backup codes, here’s how to do it.
- Sign in to a Google service as usual, with your username and password.
- When prompted for a verification code, select More options.
- select Enter one of your 8-digit backup codes.
- Type your security code.
- You will now be connected as usual.
Remember that each code can only be used once, so make sure you have spare codes for the future. So when you have your backup codes with you, if your Google Authenticator app stops working for any reason, you can recover your account in no time.
Now you know how to fix Google authentication codes
Using two-factor authentication is important to keep your accounts secure, so it’s always beneficial to have a 2FA app set up for your online accounts, such as Google Authenticator. However, these apps can be subject to malfunctions, so it’s worth knowing what steps to take if your codes suddenly stop working.