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Just got a new iPhone 7, but when it restored it lost all my Google Authenticator two factor auth codes. I still have them all in my old phone, how can I port them to my new iPhone 7?

This is quite frustrating.

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  • Did you do an encrypted iTunes backup of your old device? Helps to keep all passwords, maybe it helps to keep Google Authenticator's data, too. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 18:00
  • No, iTunes encrypted backups do not include the 2FA tokens in Google Authenticator. So, iTunes backups aren't a good solution for this problem.
    – jefe2000
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 17:26
  • Note that this question is similar to: apple.stackexchange.com/q/308131/46154
    – jefe2000
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 17:28

6 Answers 6

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First, two things.

  1. Keep your backup codes
  2. Keep your old phone

From what I have found, you will need to use the "change" option on each of your 2-step verification enabled apps/sites. This will most likely require you to log into each account using your current 2-step verification process first (hence the use of backup codes or your old phone).

If you have trouble transferring the authenticator application over, try the following tutorial. https://www.brianckeegan.com/2016/09/how-to-transfer-googles-2-factor-authentication-to-a-new-iphone/

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  • So basically if you don't have your old phone, you can't do this? So annoying. I really don't understand the advantages of Google Auth given that you can't port your accounts from a phone that died/ was last to a new phone. Might as well just use a SIM number to authenticate. Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 9:36
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Unfortunately, you cannot transfer your tokens from one device to another. Only Google offers an option to transfer the secret key to another smartphone: you should go to 2-step verification page and click ‘Change phone’ and scan the QR code by your new device. Please note that this option works only with the Google Account. For all other accounts you should disable and then re-enable 2FA: go to account settings and turn off 2FA (you will be asked to provide an OTP generated by your old phone). As soon as you disable 2FA you can issue a new token on your new iPhone.

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  • 2
    Thanks for your input. Having to disable 2FA then reenabling them on the different sites will take me days, as on certain sites there's a time period before being able to unlock 2FA. This is so bad, unbelievable! Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 10:10
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For those like me, 3 days ago Google has updated Google Authenticator and add the ability to transfer accounts. Use the three dots (top right) then "export accounts". If you have more than 10 2FA, you would need to do this multiple times.

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The above appears to be two different issues:

  1. Google Authenticator - An independent app for storing and generating token codes based on the Time based One Time Password (TOTP) protocol. Google Auth can be used by a variety of independent and unrelated services and applications.

  2. Google G-Suite (email, calendar, drive etc.) that can use a number of different two factor protocols and apps (including Google Auth above or SMS) for login authentication.

In the case of number 1 above there is not a 'simple' way to backup and restore tokens, which is by design. However there are hacks and workarounds including apps like authy and screenshotting token barcodes (yeech defeats the purpose).

In the case of number 2, G-Suite provides backup or static emergency codes as referenced by norcal above permitting login when the authenticator device/token generator is lost or not available.

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  • That's what I'm discovering right now. Google Authenticator is so secure that if my iPhone is stolen, I'll never be able to log into 2FA secured sites anymore. Ever. This is so incredibly stupid. Why am I using 2FA, again? Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 10:09
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I was in the same situation when I was upgrading from iPhone 6 to iPhone 6s. Unfortunately, I can't tie all of those to my google account and sign in on the new device. Even if you plug in you're iPhone via iTunes and make a back up, then restore the back up, it will not carry the data to you're new device.

You have to manually re-add them to you're new device.

Since then, I stop using Google Authenticator and tried Authy. I like every single aspect of it.

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    Although this is an old(er) comment it's worth pointing out that Authy has been compromised and is no longer considered secure, at least not as secure to Google Authenticator.
    – Madbreaks
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:38
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Uhm unless I am missing something, Google has the easiest methods of getting codes back. It was actually the only easy process I had when I lost all my data from my old phone.

They actually offer a webpage that allows many ways to get your codes back. https://www.google.com/landing/2step/help.html

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