Think Ahead: Two-Factor Authentication Tips for If You Lose Your Phone

Summer may be wrapping up but large gatherings like festivals, sporting events and concerts are still in full swing. These events often are the highlight of an individual’s summer, but they are also common places where people lose or have their phones stolen. Now, most mobile devices have added security features such as passcodes and face recognition to prevent people from logging in and accessing your data. If you are extra safety conscious (and you should be!), you may also have two-factor authentication enabled on all your key logins that tie to your phone, including any FindMyPhone apps. This is wonderful and highly recommended, but when you lose your phone, how does that help you when you need it to log in to FindMyPhone?

Luckily, there are workarounds to help you out in this situation, they just require some preparation ahead of time. Follow these steps to ensure you are covered for the future and can access your two-factor authentication codes without your phone so that you can track them without a sweat!

For Android devices, you can create and store backup codes in a safe location that are tied to your Google Account. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Login to your Google Account and click Security on the left side of the screen
  2. Under “Signing into Google,” click 2-Step Verification.
  3. Under “Backup codes,” click the Continue button.
  4. From this screen you can do the following:
    • Obtain backup codes for your device.
    • Create a new set of backup codes and inactivate old ones.
    • Delete and automatically inactivate your backup codes.
    • Download your backup codes
    • Print your backup codes.

Be sure to store your backup codes in a location that’s safe and easily accessible to you without your phone such as printing a physical copy. With your backup codes, you can sign into your Google Account without needing your two-factor authentication numbers. To learn more about this method for Android users, check out this article.

Use an Apple device? Instead of having a backup code, you can designate a secondary device as a trusted device from another Apple product you own or from someone close to you. This device can be used to verify your identity. Here’s how you do it:

For adding a secondary device:

  1. After you turn on two-factor authentication on one device, sign in with the same Apple ID on another device.
  2. When you’re asked to enter a six-digit verification code, do one of the following:
    • Get the verification code on your iPhone or another trusted device that’s connected to the internet.
    • Get the verification from a trusted phone number: If a trusted device isn’t near you, tap “Didn’t get a verification code?” then choose a phone number instead.
    • Get the verification code on a trusted device that’s offline. If you have a device you no longer use that has the same Apple ID, you can still get a verification code. For a trusted iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings, then click your name and then Password & Security. From there, tap Get Verification Code. On Macs with MacOS 10.15 or later, go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then Apple ID and then Password & Security. From there you can click Get Verification Code. If you have a Mac with macOS 10.14 and earlier, go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then iCloud, then Account Details, and then Security. From that screen, you can click on Get Verification code.
  3. After you get the verification code, enter it on the new device for it to become a secondary option.

For adding more trusted phone numbers:

When you elect to use two-factor authentication on your iPhone, you are asked to designate a trusted phone number to send the passcode to, which is typically your own phone number. You can also add other trusted numbers on this screen so that you have backup options if your phone isn’t on you. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings, click on your name and then Password & Security.
  2. Tap Edit (above the list of trusted phone numbers), then tap Add a Trusted Phone Number.

You can also remove trusted numbers from this page too. To learn more about adding secondary devices and numbers, read this article.

By following the above steps, you can rest assured that you can access your necessary logins and track your phone when the unexpected happens.

At BerganKDV, we assist clients with addressing their security concerns both big and small, whether it’s being prepared if a business phone goes missing or ensuring their organization’s security strategy is robust against vulnerabilities and cyber criminals. If you would like to discuss more about what our technology and security services can do for you, contact us today. Let’s have a conversation!


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CATEGORIES: Tech & Innovation
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