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

Image of person sitting in front of a computer

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When you secure your Google account with 2-Step Verification, you’ll need to 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 emergencies, be prepared; print a list of Google backup codes and keep it in a safe place only you know about.

Print or Download Google Backup Codes Using Your Computer, iPhone, or iPad

After you've set up your Google account with 2-step verification, print or download a set of backup codes.

Screenshot showing how to find Google backup codes and the list of codes
Google backup codes.  Coletta Teske 

To get the backup codes:

  1. Sign in to your Google account.

  2. Go to the 2-Step Verification page. You’ll need to enter your password a second time to access this page.

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

  4. Select Download to save a text file containing the codes to your computer, iPhone, or iPad. Or select Print to print the codes.

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 become inactive.

Create Google Backup Codes on Android

The steps to get the backup codes on an Android phone or tablet are slightly different:

  1. Open the Settings app, then go to Accounts > Google > Manage your Google Account.

  2. Select Security.

  3. Select 2-Step Verification. You may need to enter your password.

  4. In the Backup codes section, select Show Codes.

  5. Select Download to save a text file containing the codes to your Android phone or tablet. Or select Print to print the codes.

Find Your Google Backup Codes on Your Computer

If you can’t find your Google backup codes after the download, search your computer for the text file. The backup codes are in a file called Backup-codes-username.txt where username is your Google account name.

Use Google Authenticator Backup Codes to Sign In

When you need to use a backup code to sign in to your Google account, find your list of backup codes before signing in.

A screenshot showing how to log in to Google with a backup code
Use a backup code to access your Google account.   Coletta Teske 

Here’s how to sign in with a backup code:

  1. Go to Google, Gmail, or another Google service and select Sign in.

  2. Choose your account or enter your Gmail email address.

  3. Enter your password and select Next.

  4. Select More options.

  5. Select Enter one of your 8-digit backup codes.

  6. Enter a backup code.

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