The FreeOTP application is typically used as a second factor in two-factor authentication. By design, it does not synchronize the secrets over iCloud or allow exporting them. The only way to get them out of the device and in again has been using an encrypted iTunes backup. Recently however, when setting up a new iPhone using iOS 11's Automatic Setup, I noticed that the FreeOTP secrets were transferred to the new device. What in this new iOS 11 Automatic Setup process made this possible?

It seems that FreeOTP stores the secrets in the iOS keychain, but marks them only for storage on the device (not to be synced across the network using iCloud). So does the new iOS 11 Automatic Setup process somehow also transfer such marked-as-this-device-only keychain entries to the new device?


This answer can help you if your device is jailbroken (I would rather comment, but I am unable to).

Using the Filza app, navigate to the FreeOTP data folder. Copy the .plist file that is in the root of the folder. This contains the (unencrypted) secret and other information necessary to add the secrets to the new device/installation.

Using the FreeOTP QR Code Generator website, use the data from the .plist file to generate QR codes and scan the QR codes with the FreeOTP app on the new device/installation.

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  • This really doesn't answer the question. The OP asked specifically if the secrets will be transferred as part of the iOS 11 Automatic Setup process. – Wowfunhappy Dec 6 '18 at 23:59
  • @Wowfunhappy Good point. Hopefully my answer will help someone who is having trouble transferring their FreeOTP secrets to a new device/installation, as this is the only relevant question that I was able to find after searching the topic. – kas Dec 7 '18 at 2:53
  • I'd like to add that Authenticator is a much better alternative to FreeOTP, which hasn't been updated since 2014 and has camera issues with iOS 12.1.1. – kas Dec 7 '18 at 2:57

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