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The latest iOS update (11.1.1) bricked my iPhone, and it appears that I will need to reset the phone to factory settings and then restore from my (iTunes) backup. I have a fairly recent backup available, but by far the most important thing that I need to be sure will continue to work is my Google Authenticator codes.

I'm not changing devices, just reseting and restoring from backup to the same one. Will my Google Authenticator codes work if I restore my iPhone from a backup?

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  • I'm not getting the point here. If the device is already erased, why aren't you restoring the backup and telling us if it worked?
    – bmike
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:47
  • @bike: I'm asking whether it's safe to erase it (using the usual method of reset and restore). It's bricked (frozen in setup and unresponsive to any other approach: reset, DFU, etc.)
    – orome
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:51
  • Aah - for sure - you're not going to need to get anything off it unless you want to spend some serious time and dollars to crack into the storage and try to decrypt.
    – bmike
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:56
  • @bmike: It worked fine. (Well "fine": Google came through but Apple is a disaster.)
    – orome
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 18:10

13 Answers 13

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Source:

According to this Google Community answer, you should be able to restore from iCloud and it will work.

If you back up your information using iCloud, you can restore your iPhone or iPad from iCloud, and you’ll be able to use the previous version of our Google Authenticator app.

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  • 1
    Google (and only Google, really) came through. Is there a too for migration all of one's data to Google/Android?
    – orome
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 21:53
  • @orome I agree that this is disgraceful behaviour on Apple's part, but bear in mind that if something like this does happen on Android, the backup functionality is often much less than Apple provide. However, the pixel does provide excellent migration options - and if you backup your photos to Google Photos before moving your photos will all be "on" your pixel phone too.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 1:35
  • @Tim: Good point. Migration and backup are very different things. The former will (I hope) increasingly become a legal requirement for firms that have a lot of user-created content; but the latter (storage on their servers in their formats) is really just a part of the lock-in business model that Apple follows. Fortunately governments are finally looking at this sort of thing as the monopolistic practice it is and will likely require easy one-click migration (that is, download or out-transfer in a standard, ideally human readable format) for all such data.
    – orome
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 13:51
  • @orome google do offer a nice export feature - I'm not sure about Apple.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 13:52
  • @Tim: Yes, that's the different I was agreeing about. Google's business model is a bit different, so they have opted to provide export. Apple should be forced to do the same.
    – orome
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 13:59
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You can restore Google Authenticator with all accounts ONLY on the device where you activate this accounts(by scanning QR). Because this accounts tied to your device hardware.

My story:

I bought a new iPhone, made iTunes backup on my PC and fully reset and cleared all settings and content from the old one. After restore the backup on the new iPhone all accounts disappeared from Google Authenticator. But after I restored my old phone - all accounts restored as well.

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  • thanks! I was sure I restored before but this time it didn't work and I didn't understand what's going on
    – A1m
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 1:18
  • 1
    Same device device only is the key point. Restoring old iphone backup to a new iphone will NOT restore Google Authenticator settings for the new phone.
    – srking
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 17:50
  • This should be the accepted answer.
    – lxgr
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 11:18
  • I've also had the same experience here. Accepted answer is misleading.
    – Gezim
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 3:45
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For me, iOS 11.1 did not brick my phone. It made it unusable in a variety of amusing ways, but it didn't brick it.

The main issue I had was similar to yours - Google Authenticator had been completely wiped clean.

Thankfully, my iPhone backs up every night so I lost less than 1 days information (and no photos). This included restoring my Google Authenticator to a fully functional state - so the answer to your question is yes, your Google Authenticator information is stored in iCloud backups.

It also turned out that I had no recovery codes for my various accounts. I have 11 accounts in my Google Authenticator app - including Cloud Flare and Teamviewer. Neither of these apps have a backup 2FA method (like a text, a phone call or similar) - and Teamviewer do not offer any official support to free accounts. This meant I was locked out of my Teamviewer account permanently.

I can't stress this enough: ensure you have your backup codes stored somewhere - somewhere safe:

Personally I've put them in my password manager, but the Notes app on your iPhone is also perfect for this - or print them out and file them somewhere you won't forget. I'm also considering disabling 2FA login to Teamviewer.

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  • You get your backup codes here, right? myaccount.google.com/security/signinoptions/…
    – sudo
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 2:41
  • This completely defeats the purpose of the 2FA (especially if your Notes are synced with iCloud). Having your recovery codes stored online is a very bad idea.
    – mjarraya
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 16:43
  • @MontasarJarraya as with all of the backup, the codes are encrypted.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 16:44
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Restoring an encrypted backup from iTunes will NOT restore Google Authenticator settings. The restore will install Google Authenticator but with no settings -- it will be like a freshly installed copy.

This is based on my experience restoring a backup to a device of the same model after a replacement.

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I have verified that you can retain all google authentication codes by restoring from Itunes. So both iCloud and Itunes backups will work successfully.

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  • 1
    Yes, they will. On iOS 13.6 I've just backed-up to iTunes (not iCloud), Reset and Wiped All Data on iPhone 6S, and then restored immediately from iTunes, and Google Authenticator has brought back all my 2FA codes automatically, no further action required by me. Same iPhone though, just wiped, reset and restored.
    – Ellipsis
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 7:35
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The answer is NO. Google Authenticator does not save your settings, configured sites or whatsoever in the iTunes backup. If you restore your iPhone from backup, the Google Authenticator app will be blank. Actually this is the desired behavior due to the verification workflow that relies on the actual device.

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Yes it's still working in 2021, Just restored my device from iTunes backup and Google authenticator restored properly with all information back to it's place, Thank God

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Just tried in iPhone ios 16

  • restore backup in old phone WILL be able to recover google authenticator accounts
  • restore backup in new phone will NOT transfer google authenticator accounts
  • phone to phone (putting phone side by side) transfer will NOT transfer google authenticator accounts
  • restore backup in new phone, then phone to phone transfer to old phone will NOT transfer google authenticator accounts
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At least currently, yes. I created an encrypted backup in iTunes, wiped my iPhone, and restored from that backup. I had my Google Authenticator codes on my phone again after the wipe. If your backup was not encrypted, I don't know if it would save the codes since it generally doesn't save passwords (in their vague wording).

This is only my experience. This is not documented anywhere, so proceed with caution. I only tried this after disabling 2FA on the sites I use it with.

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  • I had heard elsewhere that this was the case however this did not work for me. iTunes Encrypted Backup, iPhone 6 w iOS12 to iPhone XS w iOS12
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 6:05
  • Sigh. Ridiculous how non-user-friendly this is.
    – sudo
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 10:24
  • @Jay I believe it only works when restoring to the same device.
    – Gaelan
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 3:10
  • @Gaelan I have given up on Google Authenticator long ago now and moved on to Authy.
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 4:22
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I was recently very stupid and forgot my iPad passcode, which meant after 10 attempts, the iPad was disabled and my only option was to restore the iPad from a recent iCloud backup. With great stress and apprehension, the device restored and on opening Google Authenticator, all of my 2FA codes were present and worked.

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  • Please don't use answers to ask follow-up questions, post a new question using the "Ask Question" link on top right instead.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 11:37
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Call me crazy, but I have a second device with Google Authenticator. When I scan a QR code for 2FA for a site, I do it on both my iPhone and the second device (the generated codes are identical on both devices).

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I know this post is very old and I want to let you know that I tested iCloud backup/restore.

  1. It does backup for the APP only.
  2. It does not back up the accounts.
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YES! If you use the SAME phone, and restore from a backup from that phone.

I just had this issue. I did a iPhone swap with my service provider (AT&T) and didn't realize until I got home that my new phone didn't have codes on Google Auth. I had already wiped my old phone and given it to the store.

So this morning I went back just as they opened and the kind team brought my old phone out from the back where it was prepared for shipment. They let me use it long enough to restore from the last backup I had made of it, export them to my new phone, and wipe the phone again. Took 30 minutes.

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  • This is the same information as already provided by other answers.
    – fsb
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 15:53

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