Microsoft Authenticator Beta for iOS added account backup and recovery abilities back in April. This feature let users enable auto backup - a solution where the app would back up all your accounts to iCloud and automatically set them up when you sign into the app on a new device. If you are invested in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch is now another device that can be used as a companion app to sign in to your account.
The public preview of the Microsoft Authenticator companion app for Apple Watch was announced via a blog post by Alex Simons, Director of Program Management, Microsoft Identity Division. The post states that consumers will be able to test drive the app when version 6.0.0 or higher becomes generally available "within the next few weeks". However, those that would like to test the app before it is available to a wider audience can enroll themselves as Authenticator TestFlight users and try it out.
In case you are already an Authenticator TestFlight user, here’s how you can check out the app:
- Make sure that the phone and Watch are paired
- Open the Microsoft Authenticator app on your Watch
- Under the account title, tap the Set up button. If there’s no Set up button next to your account, no action is required! You can now approve sign-in notifications on your Watch
The Redmond giant notes that from a security standpoint, the company still considers the Watch experience as a two-step verification, with possession of the watch itself as the first, followed by a PIN that is known only to the user. The PIN will be used to unlock the watch every time the watch is either removed from the wrist or leaves the range of your phone. However, once unlocked and kept in the range of the phone, users will not have to enter their PIN again.
If you wish to test the app on your Apple Watch, you can sign up as a Microsoft Authenticator Beta Tester here. The Authenticator app supports Microsoft personal, work, and school accounts that are set up with push notifications. All supported accounts automatically sync to the Watch.