Google 2FA

Hey look, a blog post!

Yeah, it’s called life and all the important bits that come with it. You know, the usual, work, wife, children, in no particular order.

Anyway, on the the actual post.

I was listening to the excellent This Week In Google podcast when they started talking about Google’s new two-factor authentication method. Instead of sending a code via SMS or your secondary email address, Google has enabled a prompt message to appear on a phone that is linked via the same Google account.

google-2fa-prompt This is much easier to work with! I’ve actually got 2FA enabled on other services that I use (LinkedIN hack anyone?) but those tend to be services that I don’t login to too often. My Google account on the other hand is kind of my online life-blood. Gmail, Google Photos, Google Play, Google Music, not to mention all the other countless Single Sign-on sites that allow me to authenticate using my Google account. So I’ve always railed against enabling 2FA on my Google account because… it was probably going to get annoying.

Thank you Google for making this change, I am now a happy user of two-factor authentication!

Side-note: be careful with enabling 2FA without checking what your secondary contact methods are. As Jason Howell found out when trying to enable 2FA on his Google account, live during the broadcast of the TWiG podcast!

Long story short, he had his Google Voice number as his secondary contact… Google Voice also needs to be authenticated by 2FA, thus, you have no way of receiving the initial code after enabling 2FA. Ouch.

Kudos to Jason for being an extremely good sport about it all. I believe if you can laugh at yourself, you’re generally a better person to others!


I haven’t given any instructions or requirements, because plenty of other people have done this. Check out this post for more information on how to enable 2FA for your Google account with mobile prompts.