How to Turn on Google Two Factor Authentication

Protect your data with Google two step verification

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Two-factor authentication, also known as 2-step verification, is an important line of defense in stopping hackers and criminals from accessing your accounts. It's important you set it up on all your accounts. Here's how to set up 2 factor authentication for a Google account, and learn why it's so useful. 

Why Is Google Two Factor Authentication Useful? 

Google was one of the first companies to introduce 2 factor authentication to its services. It requires people logging in to have access to a physical device like a smartphone, as well as virtual passwords, and is typically one of the best ways to prevent unwanted access to precious accounts. 

It makes things much harder for anyone to access your content and only takes seconds to set up and use. 

How Does Google Two Factor Authentication Work?

Google two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to have both your password and a special security key to access your accounts. This is generally done by Google sending you a verification code that's specific to your account. They're sent to your phone via text, through voice call, or via the Google Authenticator app, with each code only usable once. 

What Google Accounts Does Google 2FA Work With?

Two factor authentication via Google doesn't only apply to the Google services you use, but numerous other companies, too. Some of the websites that also use Google's two-step verification services include: 

How to Turn on Google Two Factor Authentication

A few simple steps are all that lie between you and an extra layer of security for your account details.

  1. Select Get Started.

    Google 2-Step Verification Setup page
  2. Scroll down and select Get Started.

    Google 2-Step Verification Get Started Page
  3. Log in to your Google account.

  4. Enter your phone number. 

  5. Choose whether to receive codes via text messages or phone call, then select Next.

    Google 2-Step Verification Page - Text Message or Phone Call options highlighted

    If you want to use a different option, like a physical security key or a Google prompt on your phone, select Choose another option, then select it from the list.

  6. Wait for the text message or phone call to be received on your phone. When you have the code, enter it into your browser, then select Next.

    Google 2-Step Verification Phone setup page
  7. Select Turn On to activate 2-step verification across your Google Account. 

    Google 2-Step Verification Turn on option

How to Turn off Google Two Factor Authentication

We don't recommend switching Google 2-step verification off, but for those times when it's necessary, here's how. 

  1. Select Security.

    My Account on Google with Security highlighted
  2. Scroll down to 2-Step Verification, then select On

    My Account on Google with 2-Step Verification highlighted
  3. Log into your account.

  4. Select Turn Off.

    Google 2-Step Verification Turn Off page
  5. Select Turn Off to disable Google 2-step verification on your account.

    Google 2-Step Verification page with Turn Off 2-Step Verification dialog box

How to Set up Alternate Verification Steps for Your Google Account

It's possible to set up different forms of verification than a text message or phone call. Here's how to change your second step.

  1. Select Security.

    My Account on Google with Security highlighted
  2. Scroll down to 2-Step Verification and select On.

    My Account on Google with 2-Step Verification highlighted
  3. Scroll down to Set up alternative second step.

    Alternatively, you can select Add Google Prompt so you receive a prompt on your phone instead of verification codes.

  4. Choose from one-off printable backup codes, a Google prompt, or to install the Google Authenticator app to your phone. 

    Google 2-Step Verification with alternate verification options highlighted

It's also possible to add a backup phone in case you lose your phone, as well as request a physical security key that plugs into your computer's USB port.