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I have two-step verification setup for a Gmail account. Its currently running on an iPhone.

I'm trying to setup the same on an iPod while retaining the setup on the iPhone. (I often like to shut off the phone and carry my music).

I'm at the Manual Entry on the iPod, and trying to locate the required key (I can't offer a screenshot because of broken/incompatible Apple software).

Install Google Authenticator tells me to enter the secret key on your computer screen into the box next to Key and tap "Done". Looking at the 2-Step Verification Settings Page, there is no key on the page:

enter image description here

Where do I find the needed key?

1
  • Just scan the QR code on multiple devices during setup. If you have already set up 2FA with one device, first disable it in the settings of the (web) service, then delete it from your Authenticator app and repeat the setup process (this time with both devices). Before entering the first code and completing the setup, make sure both devices show the same codes.
    – caw
    Aug 16, 2019 at 20:46

5 Answers 5

53

I only wanted to post this because though it is similar to @Achilleas's answer, there is an official answer from Google that is actually harder to find (cannot be linked to directly and has lower google search ranking) than this StackOverflow question:

Setting up Google Authenticator on multiple devices

You can set up Google Authenticator so that you can generate verification codes from more than one device.

Make sure that you have Google Authenticator downloaded on all devices that you want to use.

Go to the 2-Step Verification page.

If you've already set up Google Authenticator for your account, delete that account from Authenticator so you can start fresh. If you have not yet set up Google Authenticator, skip to the next step.

Follow directions as usual to set up 2-Step Verification for the mobile app, making sure to either scan the generated QR code or enter the generated secret key on all devices that you want to set up.

Check to make sure that all devices are working correctly by entering the verification codes from each device and clicking Verify. Then click Save.

Google Authenticator does not generate App Passwords. If you are prompted by an application for a new password after turning on 2-Step Verification, you must sign in using an App Password.

Note: If you have iOS 8.3 on your device, you will no longer have to use App passwords to use 2-Step Verification.

It makes no constraints on types of devices and by being from google the previous claim that it is officially unsupported no longer holds. Also, the Note regarding App passwords is actually a good qualifier if you own an device that is not updated to recent iOS releases.

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  • 9
    Since the approach is officially described in Google's documentation, I deleted the original answer which calls it unofficial and speculates about device compatibility. This answer is both more complete and points to the correct documentation.
    – Achilleas
    Jul 28, 2016 at 8:46
  • 4
    I don't get it. "If you've already set up Google Authenticator for your account, delete that account from Authenticator so you can start fresh. If you have not yet set up Google Authenticator, skip to the next step." Where do I delete the account from Authenticator? Does that mean I have to set up all my 2FA accounts that I have in my current Authenticator app again?
    – pors
    Jul 16, 2017 at 13:56
  • 1
    @pors No definitely not, you just delete the one account that you need to regenerate the code for. Your other 2FA accounts that already exist in Authenticator stay as they are. To delete one account click the pen symbol top right, tap the circle next to the account you want to delete, then press Delete down the bottom. Jan 3, 2018 at 13:05
  • You shouldn’t delete the account from the Authenticator app before having disabled 2FA in the settings of the service (e.g. Gmail), should you?
    – caw
    Aug 16, 2019 at 20:47
  • This works, but I am wondering about why having this restriction.
    – Alexei
    Nov 19, 2021 at 20:00
13

I did the following to get Google Authenticator which was already installed on an iPhone with iOS 14.6, added to a new iPad (no deleting of your account from authenticator needed, nor do you need to execute console commands) - this is really simple:

  • With the app installed on both devices.
  • Open the Google Authenticator App on the 'old' device.
  • Click on the three dots in the right-top corner.
  • Export Accounts / Continue and Authenticate on your device (touchID).
  • Select all sites for which you are generating keys and click "Export".
  • You now get the QR-code on screen.
  • Open the Google Authenticator App on your 'new' device.
  • Click the google "+" button in the bottom right corner and select "Scan QR" code.
  • Give access to the camera, scan it.
  • You are now generating access keys on both devices.
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  • 4
    By far the best solution.
    – BoarGules
    Aug 21, 2021 at 11:16
  • 2
    Correct and easy solution. This is surprisingly difficult to find - specifically the fact, that both devices generate identical codes and the 'old' device can still be used after 'migrating' to the new device. Oct 14, 2021 at 8:01
  • the feature says "transfer" which implies once you transfered the source (old device) does not have the ability to generate codes for the transferred accounts. if after a transfer BOTH devices can be used then the "transfer" word is wrong cause it is misleading.
    – ovi
    Jun 30 at 15:18
5

I had this issue too a while back. My solution was to switch from Google Authenticator to Authy. It supports the same sites (since both GA and Authy use the same algorithm) and also has some extra features such as Sync, passcode lock and a browser plugin. (And it looks much nicer if you ask me).

Authy is free and works on iOS and Android.

(I have no affiliation with Authy, other than that I'm a happy user)

EDIT 2019-07-24: Actually, just use a password manager that can do OTP for you. It's safer than depending on SMS (like pointed out in the comments to this answer)

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  • 6
    Authy needs a telephone number, and uses telephone number as your identity. Which means your security now actually depends on how telecom companies SMS network secure. I wouldn't buy it.
    – Eonil
    Jul 9, 2017 at 16:43
  • Keep in mind that it is not super difficult to set up your own "tower" to serve as a telecom connection in order to intercept SMS messages. Jul 23, 2019 at 14:18
  • Authy's one-time-password security does not depend on SMS or cell provider. Your keys are either on device, or locally encrypted from your master password then backed up to cloud. If someone SIM-swapps you, they can't decrypt.
    – Vimes
    Sep 19, 2019 at 1:14
0

I had my Google Authenticator installed on Android and wanted to install a backup authenticator on iPhone without creating new keys on both devices. I actually found a few ways to do that:

1/ via TWRW:

  • boot Android into TWRP Recovery (VolumeUp+Power)

  • goto filemanager and copy /data/data/com.google.android.apps.authenticator2/databases/databases to /storage/emulated/0/Download/

  • copy databases to pc and open cmd:

    sqlite3.exe databases
    .tables
    select * from accounts;
    
  • copy the keys and input them manually into another phone (Android/iPhone) or use method 5.

2/ via adb shell:

  • adb shell
  • run-as com.google.android.apps.authenticator2
  • cp /data/data/com.google.android.apps.authenticator2/databases/databases /storage/emulated/0/Download/

3/ via adb shell (root):

  • adb shell
  • su
  • adb pull /data/data/com.google.android.apps.authenticator2/databases/databases

4/ via adb backup (get abe.jar from https://sourceforge.net/projects/android-backup-toolkit/)

  • adb backup com.google.android.apps.authenticator2
  • java.exe -jar abe.jar unpack backup.ab backup.tar ""

5/ restore keys via adb:

  • adb push databases /storage/emulated/0/Download/
  • adb shell
  • su
  • mv /storage/emulated/0/Download/databases /data/data/com.google.android.apps.authenticator2/databases/
  • chown u0_a165:u0_a165 /data/data/com.google.android.apps.authenticator2/databases/database
0

Read the whole ordered list below before starting. It is aimed at Android users too, but is agnostic. Because this is a highly ranked article. I hope this makes more sense than the previous answers did for me.

The answer with the Google Article is close but written in Google Cypher, hopefully this works better for those that like an alternate version or english:

  1. If you already have your Web App setup for 2FA,...Go to the existing "Web App/Service" that uses 2FA. You may be asked for your existing 2FA code. Hence why this step is first!
  2. Remove 2FA from that "Web App" account, so that you can login with just regular old Password or the like.
  3. Go To Google Authenticator "G Auth" in your current device/s
  4. Remove the existing 2FA Account of the Web App from the existing G Auth because it is now not needed due to step 2 above. (assumes you need more G Auth devices)
  5. If first time setting up, or have removed as per above,...Go back to the Web App and restart the initial 2FA process which should give a code or QR Code to scan.
  6. Scan/Enter the QR/Code into every device you wish to utilise G Auth for this particular Web App.
  7. Do not log out of the Web App until you have all G Auth working.
  8. Test the codes all match and that they work before loggin out of the source Web App devices ability to authenticate your web Apps 2FA request.
  9. Repeat for every Web App you need multiple 2FA devices.

You do not need to delete or remove Google Authenticator, just the specific instance of the app's 2FA you wish to multiply across 2+ devices. !!! but remember Do NOT remove the 2FA from G Auth until you have removed it from the source Web App; You do not wish to be denied access!!!

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