How to Move your 2FA Google Authenticator Technology to Your New Phone

It’s a bit more complicated than just copying data.

Two-factor (2FA) authentication is one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep your online accounts secure. They work by delivering the authentication code on your phone anytime someone wants to enter the account; if that person doesn’t have the code, they (or you) don’t get it. By using a 2FA app, such as Google Authentication, you can prevent anyone from accessing your data by verifying your password.

How to Set up Two-factor(2FA) Authentication for any Your Online and Social Accounts

Various security applications do this in several ways. In this post, I’m going to look at Google Authenticator, and the best way to transfer the software to a new phone if you have access to the old phone, and how you can plan for a major problem (like a missing phone).

Google Authenticator lets you set up 2FA by scanning the QR code created by the software on a different computer using your phone or by entering a key code. It’s a very simple process — unless you find that you need to switch the app to a different phone. Because Two – factor authentication uses security keys that are specific to each piece of hardware, you soon won’t just reinstall Google Authenticator on your new phone and use it to log in. 

The easiest way to do this, especially if you use 2FA with multiple apps, is to use the Authenticator app’s dedicated transfer feature to move your keys from one phone to another.  There are, however, a number of assumptions here: first, that you need access to both old and new phones, and, second, that you need Android devices. If one of these assumptions doesn’t work with your situation, so there’s another one for me.


When you have two Android phones, you can transfer your accounts to a new phone by exporting them via the QR code generated by the Authenticator app. 

• Open the Google Authenticator on your old phone 

 • Tap the three dots on the top right of the screen and select “Transfer Accounts” 

 • Select “Export Accounts.” You may be asked to check your identity using a fingerprint, password, or another method. Choose which accounts you want to export by signing them off. Tap “Next” then. 

• You will be given the QR file 

• Go to your new phone number. Follow and select “export Accounts.”

• You will be given instructions on how to delete your accounts from your old phone. Since you already know how to do this, just pick “Check QR Code.” 

• Check your old phone code for your new mobile

ALTERNATIVE Option # 1: Use the passwords

When you set up an account to use Google Authenticator before the procedure is finished, you will be given a series of four backup passwords and asked to print them out or else save them. (In fact, Google will ask you to enter one of the passwords in the field before the installation is completed, just to be sure you’ve saved them.)And you certainly want to archive it; print it out, put it in a secure spot, or make a File, and delete it so no one else can read it. 

If your phone goes south, these codes would be a safe way to recover security on your new phone — assuming, of course, you haven’t lost the codes. This is also a way to restore the keys to a new iPhone.

ALTERNATIVE Option # 2: Take a Screenshot of the Bar-code

One way to make a backup in case you lose your phone is to take and save the barcode screenshot that is created for each 2FA-secured smartphone. If you’ve mislaid your backup code, but you’ve saved a screenshot of the QR barcode that you originally used to establish security for your smartphone, you can use the screenshot to configure your code on a new phone.

Always drop the screenshot on your device, load the Google Authenticator on your new phone, and use the plus sign on the smartphone to search the barcode. (You can even enter the configuration key code if that’s what you’ve saved.)

Do this with one of your applications, and you’ll be all set.