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.

  • 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. – Philipp Stauss Nov 6 '16 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 Mar 6 '18 at 17:26
  • Note that this question is similar to: apple.stackexchange.com/q/308131/46154 – jefe2000 Mar 6 '18 at 17:28

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/


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.

  • 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! – Christophe Keller Sep 1 '18 at 10:10

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.

  • 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? – Christophe Keller Sep 1 '18 at 10:09

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.

  • 3
    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 Sep 13 '17 at 16:38

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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