Using Google Authenticator on more than one device

I take security pretty seriously. Some might even call me a little paranoid when it comes to password strength. It’s no surprise that I love two-factor authentication then. Not only can I have a super strong password, but I can now require that I have a security token in my possession in order to login. In other words, even if you knew my 16 character random password for gmail, you still could not login without also having my security token.

The fact that Google supports two-factor authentication is great. If you have not enabled this on your Google account yet, please go do it right now.

But I quickly ran into an issue where I wanted to install the Google Authenticator app on my iPhone and my iPad. Sometimes I’m sitting on the couch with my iPad and the iPhone is WAY over on the kitchen table. Horrible, right? Well, I couldn’t figure out how to make this happen. It seemed that Google would only let me pair one device with my account at a time.

Today, I got an idea on how to get multiple devices registered and it worked! The trick is to register both devices simultaneously. If you register one, finish the process, then register another, it de-registers the first one. But, if you have both devices there at the same time and register them both with the same on-screen QR code, then they will pair and work together flawlessly.