How to Set up and Use Microsoft Authenticator

Add 2FA to Microsoft 365 including Outlook, Word, and Excel

The Microsoft Authenticator app enables users to set up two-factor authentication (2FA) from their Android or iOS device. Users can use 2FA to protect access to their accounts. Microsoft Authenticator supports all accounts using Microsoft Services from Outlook to Xbox. It also supports Google, Facebook, and other third-party services.

These instructions apply to any iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 or higher, any Apple Watch running watchOS 4 or higher, and Android smartphones running at least 8.0 Oreo.

What is Microsoft Authenticator?

The Microsoft Authenticator, like the Google Authenticator, enables you to use two-factor verification without repeatedly receiving text messages. When you sign-in to a Microsoft account, the Authenticator can provide either a code or a notification for your approval. The app also works with non-Microsoft accounts via its code generator and is available for Android and iOS.

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How to Set up Microsoft Authenticator

To set up the Authenticator, you need a computer and an Android or iOS device. You also need the username and password for your Microsoft account. If you don't have a Microsoft account, you need to create one first.

  1. Go to account.microsoft.com/account. If you have a Microsoft account, sign in. Otherwise, click Create a Microsoft account, follow the on-screen instructions, and sign in.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  2. You'll land on your profile page.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  3. Scroll down and click Update in the Security block.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  4. Click Explore under More security options. (You might need to sign in again.)

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  5. On the next screen, click Get it now.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  6. Click the Google Play or App Store button to download the app. Once the app is installed on your device, come back to this page and click Next.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  7. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app and tap SCAN QR CODE. You might get a notification asking you to allow Authenticator to take pictures and record video. Tap Allow.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  8. After you scan the QR code, click Done on your computer.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator.
  9. On your phone, click GOT IT under the welcome message. You'll see your Microsoft account in the app.

  10. A notification is sent to the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device to test your account.

  11. Approve the alert in the Microsoft Authenticator app, then select Next.

    The Microsoft Authenticator app is now assigned as the default method to verify your identity when using a two-step verification or password reset.

How to Use Microsoft Authenticator to Sign In

Once set up, when you sign into a Microsoft account, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone. When you sign into a non-Microsoft account, you’ll be asked for a 6-digit code. The app continuously generates these codes. Here's how to sign in with Microsoft Authenticator.

  1. Go to your account page and enter your username and password.

  2. For Microsoft accounts, you'll get a notification. Tap it to approve.

  3. For other accounts, you need to input a code generated by the app. If you don’t see a code, tap the down arrow to the right of the account, then tap Show code.

Set up Microsoft Authenticator on a Third-Party Account

To set up Microsoft Authenticator on a third-party account like Facebook or Google, you need to generate a code in that account's settings. Connecting the Microsoft Authenticator app to your Facebook account is easy.

  1. Visit Facebook.com and sign in. 

  2. On the menu bar at the top of Facebook, click the down arrow in the upper right, then select Settings & Privacy.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator on Facebook.
  3. Select Settings.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator on Facebook.
  4. Click Security and Login in the left panel.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator on Facebook.
  5. Click Edit next to Use Two-factor Authentication. Enter your password again if prompted.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator on Facebook.
  6. Click Use an Authenticator App.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator on Facebook.
  7. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app.

  8. Tap the three-dot menu.

  9. Tap Add account.

  10. Tap Other account.

    Adding Facebook account to Microsoft Authenticator.
  11. Scan the QR code that Facebook generated.

  12. Tap Continue.

  13. Go back to the app.

  14. Tap the 6-digit code generated by the app. If you don't see it, tap the down arrow next to the account, then tap Show code.

  15. Tap Done on the confirmation message.