Google unveiled a major update to its 12-year-old Authenticator app for Android and iOS with an account synchronization option that allows users to back up their time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) to the cloud.
Google has finally acted on the demands of its users and given its authenticator app, Google Authenticator, the ability to synchronize with Google accounts.
"This change means users are better protected from lockout and that services can rely on users retaining access, increasing both convenience and security," Google's Christiaan Brand said.
The update, which also brings a new icon to the two-factor authenticator (2FA) app, finally brings it in line with Apple's iCloud Keychain and addresses a long-standing issue that it's tied to the device on which it's installed, making it difficult when switching phones.
Previously this caused an issue to those individuals who lost their devices, and therefore lost their sign in, to any service which they had originally set up with 2FA using the Authenticator.
The move means that all your saved accounts that require a time-based one-time passcode (TOTP) for two factor authentication (2FA) can be backed up, so if you lose your device or get a new one, you won't have to manually set them all up again. The cloud sync feature is optional, meaning users can opt to use the Authenticator app without linking it to a Google account.
The new update is currently rolling out on iOS and Android devices. After opening the app for the first time after updating, you will be asked if you want to sync your 2FA accounts to your Google Account, will takes only one or two click to setup. After doing so, you will notice a cloud icon in the top corner to indicate that they're synced.
This change means users are better protected from lockout and that services can rely on users retaining access, increasing both convenience and security.
The move follows Google's other security-related updates recently, which includes replacing Chrome's in-built password manager with the Google Password Manager, in effort to make users' passwords more accessible across various platforms. It now also adds an extra notes field for each of your entries, allowing you to manually put in extra information related to a credential.