With phishing scammers constantly coming up with creative ways to fool Gmail users into revealing their passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA) 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 with your phone.

Mobile users may find that their Google Authenticator codes are not working when logging into their accounts. And strangely enough, the problem may actually be related to Google Authenticator’s time setting.

If the Google Authenticator app isn’t working, either on Android or iPhone, there may be a glitch with the time sync. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix if Google Authenticator has stopped working. This way.

1. Sync App Time

All you have to do is make sure your Google Authenticator app’s time is synced correctly. Launch the app, tap the menu button (three dots), and go to Settings > Time correction for codes > Sync now.

After this you will know that your Authenticator codes work properly.

Syncing the time in the Google Authenticator app will not affect the time setting on your phone.

2. Update Authenticator App

Are you sure your phone’s Authenticator app has the latest updates installed? How long has it been since you last updated it? If you’re not sure, it may be time for an update.

Updates are important not only to address security flaws, but also to fix existing or new bugs in software. Your app being out of date could be the reason Google Authenticator crashes (and that’s why updates are so important!) A quick update will clarify if this is indeed the case.

If a new update is available for Google Authenticator, it will be downloaded within seconds. If Authenticator really stopped working because of an update issue then everything should be back to normal.

Also, note that in general, it is always better to have automatic updates enabled on your device. This will remove any security threats or general bugs that might otherwise arise.

3. Install Google Authenticator on Multiple Devices

You may be concerned about trusting only one device as your authenticator. For example, you may lose your primary device. Its battery may run out if needed. Or it may be inaccessible when you travel for some reason. There can be several reasons why Google Authenticator may stop 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 as well as your phone.

It’s actually pretty basic to set up two devices with Google Authenticator. First of all install the app from play store on both the devices. Now, navigate to the page to set up two-factor authentication. You will see a QR code.

Use this QR code first on your primary device, then on your secondary device. Enter the numeric code from any device to confirm if it works.

Now, both the devices will show the same numerical code to log in. If your primary device is not available, you can use your secondary device instead. If you do this, remember that you’ll need to keep your secondary device somewhere safe.

Alternatively, if you recently purchased a new device, you might want to consider switching to Google Authenticator on a new phone.

4. Log in to Google Authenticator Using the Back-up Code

When you set up your Google Authenticator app, you have the option to create a back-up code. These codes are strings of numbers, and you can only use each code once to log in.

Back-up codes are very useful if you lose your device with Google Authenticator. Or if for some reason the Google Authenticator app is not working. It’s a good idea to take a copy of your back-up codes and keep them somewhere safe.

How to generate back-up code on the desktop

Now find the Backup Codes section and tap Show Codes to see your codes. Alternatively, if you haven’t set up the 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 down the code on paper instead. Yes, there is still a risk associated with doing this, but as long as you keep that paper in a safe place, you should be fine.

If you have used your codes, you can tap on Get new codes to generate new codes.

Remember that each code can only be used once, so make sure you still have additional codes for the future. So while you have your back-up codes, if your Google Authenticator app stops working for any reason, you can recover your account in no time.

Now You Know What to Do When Google Authenticator Isn’t Working

It is important to use 2FA to keep your accounts secure.

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