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Google Authenticator adds a critical long-awaited feature after 13 years

The Google Authenticator logos above clouds

After 13 years, Google has finally added syncing to Google Authenticator. For those who don’t know, Google Authenticator can be used for two-factor authentication. One of the main issues, though, is the lack of sync. By adding sync, you no longer need to worry about losing access to your online accounts. If you lose your phone, just restore them on a new device.

Sync for Google Authenticator is now available in both the Android and iOS versions of the app. To get sync enabled on your device, just update the Google Authenticator app and follow the prompts.

The fact that Google is only just rolling out sync is a little peculiar. Two-factor authentication will no doubt be around for while. However, tech firms are now trying to move over to passkeys, which could make 2FA redundant. This switch will likely take several years or more so 2FA will remain relevant for some time, it’s just strange that syncing took so long to arrive.

In its announcement, Google admits that it has been slow to introduce this feature. It said one major piece of feedback from users over the years was how to deal with lost devices. On some platforms, it’s possible to write down some backup codes to gain entry to your account. In other cases, you need to contact the relevant support team to log in.

“In addition to one-time codes from Authenticator, Google has long been driving multiple options for secure authentication across the web,” said Google’s Christiaan Brand, Group Product Manager of Google Authenticator. “Google Password Manager securely saves your passwords and helps you sign in faster with Android and Chrome, while Sign in with Google allows users to sign in to a site or app using their Google Account. We’ve also been working with our industry partners and the FIDO Alliance to bring even more convenient and secure authentication offerings to users in the form of passkeys.”

The Google Password Manager that Brand mentions has come a long way over the years too. It helps you to generate strong passwords and makes it a bit simpler to log in online and across apps. If you combine these strong passwords with two-factor authentication, you’re almost guaranteed to secure your accounts against attackers.

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