The nice thing about two-factor Authentication on Google is that, similar to Apple, Google will authenticate you by sending you a notification to your mobile device. So when signing into Gmail, or any of your Google apps, a simple click of the button proves it’s you trying to sign in and you’re all done. This makes setting up Two Factor Authentication on your Google account very easy.
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By enabling two-factor authentication on your Gmail account, you are actually enabling it on your whole Google account, so to configure 2FA you need to access your Google account settings by browsing to https://accounts.google.com. If you use Chrome it’s likely you are already logged in.
If you’re in Gmail, click on your profile icon in the top right of the screen, which will take you to your account settings. It’s the same process on your phone, if you already have a Gmail app installed, click on your profile icon and choose Manage Your Google Account, or browse to accounts.google.com and log in.
Once in your Account settings, you should see “Security” either on the left-hand side of the desktop menu or swipe left on your phone. Under “Signing In To Google”, choose “Two-Step Verification”. Followed by “Get Started”.
You’ll be asked to confirm your account credentials, and then Google will check if you have a linked device.
Authentication using a Linked Device:
If you’re using an iPhone you’ll need to install one of the Google Apps, such as the Gmail app to use it as a linked device.
Google will require you to provide a phone number as a backup method of accessing your account. If you prefer, you can choose to download some codes instead of a phone number, but I recommend using a phone number. Enter the SMS verification code, and that’s it, you have enabled Two Factor Authentication on your Google Account. You’ll receive an email confirming that 2FA is enabled. When you next log into Google, if you set up a linked device, you receive a notification on your mobile device to confirm it’s you trying to log in.
Authentication using an Unlinked Device:
If you prefer to use the built in Mail app on your iPhone rather than the Gmail app, and you don’t have any other Google apps installed, Google will not recognise this as a linked device. Instead you can choose to have an SMS sent to your phone but that is less secure. Alternatively you can use the Google Authenticator app.
If you prefer to use the Google Authenticator app, it is similarly straightforward to set up. As before, navigate to the Security area of your Google Account settings. You’ll see an option to set up the authenticator app. Choose either Android or iPhone and you’ll be presented with the QR code that you need to scan using the authenticator app. Having scanned QR code using the Google Authenticator app, Google will want you to enter the 6 digits displayed in the Authenticator app. Having entered the code you’re all set. The authenticator code refreshes periodically and you’ll need to use this code each time you log into your Google Account.
So that’s it, you can be safe in the knowledge that your Google account is well protected from anyone trying to access it other than you.