How to Use Google Authenticator for Gmail Account


Google’s default two-step verification options are good, but they still leave your account vulnerable. And given you likely have very personal and sensitive information sitting in your Gmail account, you may want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to secure your information. Thankfully, Google makes it possible to use an authenticator app with your account. Authenticator apps are locked to a single device, and only someone using the authenticator app on that device has the ability to approve a request to access your Gmail account on a new device. If you’re already comfortable in Google’s ecosystem, you can use the Google Authenticator. The only caveat with this is that to set up Google Authenticator for your Gmail account, you have to first turn on two-step verification.

Some of the images associated with the steps are included inline below. All images associated with these steps can be seen in the embedded YouTube video. Also, please note that you’re not able to leave a comment directly on this article. If you have a question or feedback, please leave it on the YouTube video.

YouTube player

Steps to Use Google Authenticator for Gmail Account

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to Log into your Google account if prompted. You’ll arrive at your Google Account home screen.
  2. Click “Security” in the menu on the left side of the screen. The Security section appears on the right side of the screen.

  1. Navigate down to the Signing in to Google section. If 2-Step Verification in this section is turned off, you’ll need to enable it. If you already have two-step verification enabled, you can skip ahead to Step 8.
  2. Click “2-Step Verification” if it’s currently off. You’ll land on the 2-Step Verification screen. Click “Get Started.” The next screen prompts you to enter the phone number you want to use, and then choose whether you want to get your Google two-step verification codes through a text message or phone call to that number. You can also click “Choose Other Option” to use a key fob or the Google Prompt app. Click “Next” after making your selection.

  1. In this walk-through, I’ll choose to receive my codes through a text message. A test code will be texted to me, and I’ll be prompted to enter that code on the next screen. Tap “Next” after entering the code. The next screen will prompt you to turn on two-step verification on your Google Account.

  1. Click “Turn On” to enable two-step verification on your Google Account. You’ll return to the 2-Step Verification screen, where you’ll see 2-Step Verification is now turned on.

  1. Install the Google Authenticator app on your iPhone or Android device if it’s not installed already.
  2. Scroll down the screen until you find Authenticator App, and then click “Set Up” beneath Authenticator App. The Get Codes from the Authenticator App window appears.

  1. Choose whether you’re using an iPhone or Android device. In this example, I’ll choose “iPhone.” Tap “Next” after making your selection. The Set Up Authenticator screen is displayed.

  1. Open the Google Authenticator app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Tap “Begin Setup” if this is your first time using Google Authenticator. If you already have other accounts set up in Google Authenticator, tap the “+” sign at the top of the screen. You’ll see options to either scan the barcode or manually enter a number. In this example, I’ll tap “Manually Enter” to manually enter the code. The Manual Entry screen is displayed in the Google Authenticator app. To get the code, I’ll click “Can’t Scan It” beneath the QR code in the Set Up Authenticator window. The Can’t Scan the Barcode screen appears, displaying the key you’ll need to supply in the Google Authenticator app.

  1. On the Manual Entry screen in the Google Authenticator app, enter the Gmail address associated with your Google account in the Account field, and then enter the key provided on the Google Account website in the Key field in the Google Authenticator app. Tap the check mark at the top of the screen after entering the required information. You’ll return to the Google Authenticator home screen, where you’ll now see your Gmail site in your list of applications using Google Authenticator.

  1. Tap “Next” in the Can’t Scan the Barcode window after adding your Google account to the Google Authenticator app. The next screen will prompt you to enter the current code from Google Authenticator. Enter the code, and then click “Verify.” A Done screen appears, telling you that you’re all set to use Google Authenticator to authorize access to your Google account.

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!