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I am using Google Authenticator for 2-step authentication. I like how I can use a code and verify my account using my phone:


I realize that the app was designed to run on a device other than a computer to increase security for the computer (in case that it is lost or stolen), but I would like to know if there is a way I can run Google Authenticator on my Macbook.

Now, per the Google Authenticator Page it will not run on a desktop:

What devices does Google Authenticator work on?

  • Android version 2.1 or later
  • BlackBerry OS 4.5 - 6.0
  • iPhone iOS 3.1.3 or later

However there are several emulators for developers and so I wonder if it is possible to run one of these emulators and then run Google Authenticator with that. I do realize this is not a best practice - but I'm less worried about my laptop getting stolen and more worried about someone just hacking the account.

So my question is this: Is it possible to run it on the desktop, even though it is not meant to be / not recommended?

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11 Answers 11

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You could use Oracle's VirtualBox, Android x86 OS, and then install the Authenticator. This would essentially give you the Google Authenticator on a desktop.


Android x86:

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Install oath-toolkit via brew, generate your keys with:

oathtool --totp -b <your_secret>

To get your secret, use the 'change phone' option in Google. You can get your key by clicking the 'manually enter the key' link.

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works like a charm! – khadafi Nov 21 '15 at 20:50

There is a Self Hostable Web App at This is not secure on an internet facing machine, but you can load this on a completely offline Machine and you'd be safe.

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It looks really good - just makes me nervous b/c I don't easily understand everything that makes it work :) – cwd May 25 '13 at 0:30
basically, it's using local storage inside your browser to store a secret key, local storage is only accessible from the domain it was written from (someone correct me if i'm wrong), it then uses the current time and the secret key from the local storage, to compute what the key should be. It's all just Javascript goodness – Jharwood May 28 '13 at 13:11
This one is awesome bro. Now I don't need to run a VirtualBox or Bluestacks for this. – manish_s Mar 24 '14 at 16:41

There's also a Firefox app version. It doesn't need Firefox to run first, and you can actually install Firefox portable so it doesn't impact your system .

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has moved to: – Joe Feb 1 '15 at 20:12

JAuth is a good alternative - Java based (has Windows, Linux, and OS X installers), small and portable. I keep a copy on a USB drive.

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For my money, this ought to be the accepted answer. JAuth is works great, and has its own installer. It really couldn't be any easier. – evadeflow Apr 11 '14 at 13:37

Yes. You can use WinAuth. Works fine for me.

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Try Authy:

It works for many 2fa accounts, including Google. Authy supports multiple platforms, including PC.

Note: Google seems to only provide a QR code for adding accounts. This means it's easiest to add your Google account via the Authy Android app. However, once you do that, you can also access it from the PC Authy app.

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By far the best solution. It has a Chrome Extension too :) – Jacob Relkin Dec 3 '15 at 10:26

I hacked together an oath-toolkit integration with a CLI that works in Quicksilver too. The CLI Bash Script and .otpkeys Configuration File example can be found in the Quicksilver and OTP: Together At Last blog post.

You'll need your secret keys so you can put them into the config.

Bash Script:

scriptname=`basename $0`
if [ -z $1 ]
    echo "$scriptname: Service Name Req'd"
    echo ""
    echo "Usage:"
    echo "   otp google"
    echo ""
    echo "Configuration: $HOME/.otpkeys"
    echo "Format: name=key"
otpkey=` grep ^$1 $HOME/.otpkeys | cut -d"=" -f 2 | sed "s/ //g" `
if [ -z $otpkey ]
    echo "$scriptname: Bad Service Name"
/usr/local/bin/oathtool --totp -b $otpkey

Configuration File example for .otpkeys -- spaces are stripped.

google=a743 mike k3b4 rm5k z8a9 q6f5 id1k bxk1
facebook=OWBV Q9LF POQ2 MKYU
dropbox=iop4 xbox asia b0ss ninj a9

Usage -- specify the full or partial service name from the config, anchored to the beginning of the service name. E.g. 'goo' will work for google, but 'oogl' will not.

iso : ~ --> otp google
iso : ~ --> otp goo
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YubiKey offers a hardware solution (an USB dongle) that's capable of doing OATH-TOTP.

There's also a Windows helper program:

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Here is a Chrome extension version

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Wow, I would never use a non-Google tool for this. (But it might be legit and safe to use.) – Arjan Jul 26 '14 at 19:29
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 26 '14 at 21:20
Thanks, that's the simplest way to do it. – BMW Jan 1 '15 at 4:42

On MAC (OSX) you can use Alfred* and the GAuth-Workflow to get the Google Authenticator on your Desktop.

  • Workflows are only supported with the (paid) Powerpack version.
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