Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the easiest and most successful ways to increase the security for your accounts. This can prevent hackers from taking over if they know your password.
Multi-factor authentication means you'll type a code from your phone or authenticator app to access your account. Using an authenticator app such as Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, or DUO, is more secure than SMS text messages. The primary reason is that it’s easier for a hacker to gain access to your text messages than it is to gain physical access to your phone. With an authentication app, the codes are generated and stored temporarily on your phone and expire within a short timeframe.
With that said, using text message MFA is still better than nothing.
Microsoft Authenticator App
Transferring apps, photos, contacts, etc from your old phone to a new phone is a seamless process these days. But, as we noted previously if you use Google Authenticator, you must physically transfer your authenticator account to your new iPhone or Android before you wipe your old phone. If you no longer have your old phone then you’ll need to recreate your accounts manually on your new phone.
The process of transferring Microsoft Authenticator is quite different than Google Authenticator. Microsoft Authenticator provides a backup and recovery option to transfer your accounts to your new phone.
How to move Microsoft Authenticator to a new phone
To set up Microsoft Authenticator on a new phone, follow these steps:
1. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app on your old phone.
2. Tap on the three-dotted icon located at the top right and go to Settings.
3. Toggle-on Cloud backup for Android or iCloud backup for iPhone.
4. Install Microsoft Authenticator on your new phone.
5. Add a recovery account. Use the same email account you used for the backup on your old phone.
6. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app on your new mobile from the Google Play Store for Android or Apple App Store for iPhone.
7. On your new phone, open Microsoft Authenticator and select the BEGIN RECOVERY button. Enter your credentials of the recovery account.
8. You’ll be asked to sign in to the Microsoft account you used for the backup on your old phone. Your accounts will then automatically be added to Microsoft Authenticator on your new one.
9. Reverify accounts to start using them.
Some accounts will require you to revalidate, either by signing into those accounts or scanning a QR code.
After you finish your recovery, you might notice that your personal Microsoft account verification codes in the Microsoft Authenticator app are different between your old and new phones. The codes are different because each device has its own unique credential, but both are valid and work while signing in using their respective phones.
However, for security purposes, you should remove the accounts from your old phone. First test and make sure you can access these accounts on your new phone via Microsoft Authenticator.
How to remove Microsoft Authenticator from your old phone
To remove an account from your old phone, open Microsoft Authenticator on it. Tap the account you want to remove, and then tap “Remove Account.”
Once you’ve removed all your accounts from Authenticator on your old phone, you can remove the app. From this point onward, only your new phone will provide 2FA codes for you.
What if you don’t have access to Microsoft Authenticator on your old phone?
If you no longer have your old phone, it was stolen, lost or damaged, you’ll need to contact Microsoft Support. The virtual agent will ask if the answers are helpful or not, click “No” to then have the option to talk to a person for help.
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