Google Backup Codes: What to Know and How to Use Them

Can't get codes via email, text, or voice call? Try this method instead

What to Know

  • Print/Download Codes: In Google Account, choose Security > Show Codes. Sign in, scroll down, select Show Codes > Download or Print.
  • Sign in with backup codes: On 2-Step Verification screen, choose Try another way > Enter one of your 8-digit backup codes. Enter codes.

When you secure your Google account with two-factor authentication (2FA), you'll enter a code to complete the sign-in. You can get this code from a text message, a voice call, the Google Authenticator app, or a security key.

There may be times when you don’t have your phone or a security key with you. For these situations, you can print a list of Google backup codes and keep it in a safe place only you know about, and then sign in with your backup codes. We show you how to do so using any device.

How to Print or Download Google Backup Codes

After setting up your Google account with 2FA, print or download a set of backup codes.

  1. Sign in to your Google account and select Security.

    Google account security
  2. Under Signing in to Google, choose 2-Step Verification.

    Google Account 2-step verification
  3. Sign in and choose Next.

  4. Scroll down to the Backup codes section and select Show Codes.

    A screenshot of Gmail's 2-Step Verification settings with the Show Codes link highlighted
  5. Select Download to save a text file containing the codes, or select Print to print the codes.

    A screenshot of Google 2FA backup codes with the Download and Print options highlighted

If you download the backup codes from your Google account, save them somewhere safe. Also, change the default name to something less obvious than the default backup-codes file name.

If your backup codes are lost or you've used all the codes, select Get New Codes. You'll have a new list of codes to work with and the old set of backup codes will become inactive.

How to Sign In With Backup Codes

When you need to use a backup code to sign in to your Google account, find your list and follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to any Google service, be it Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, or another Google service.

  2. When the 2-Step Verification screen appears, scroll down and select Try another way.

    A screenshot of Google sign-in with the Try Another Way option highlighted
  3. Select Enter one of your 8-digit backup codes.

    A screenshot of Google 2FA with the "Enter one of your 8-digit backup codes" option highlighted
  4. Enter a backup code, then select Next to log in.

    2-Step Verification screen with backup code entered

When you use a code, it cannot be used again. Be sure to cross it off your list.

Was this page helpful?