Can Google Authenticator be Used for Multiple Accounts?

2 factor authentication provides a second layer of protection that is more effective than a password. Google’s authenticator can be used to protect more than one account using the multi account option where it lets users link their user accounts to one authenticator account.

Do you feel unsafe when you hear the stories of people who have had their online identities stolen by hackers? Are you worried about keeping your personal information safe in a digital world where your information is fair game to anyone with a laptop, motivation and good hacking skills?

You aren't alone. So many people feel the same way you do and it's a valid fear considering how much of our lives is online. In fact, a study done in 2029 shows that 75% of people fear being hacked for fraudulent purposes.

In the last couple of years, more important parts of people's lives than a cute selfie of their dog has been exposed to the digital world.

There's online banking, several social media accounts, and virtual identities linked strongly to real ones. With so much of our lives online, the need to protect our information from people who'd take advantage of that to possess our identities is stronger than ever.

In response to this flaw in cyber security, the 2 Factor Authentication was introduced to add a second layer of protection to online accounts.

What is 2 Factor Authentication?

You've probably heard of 2 Factor Authentication or 2FA. If you haven't come across it online, then a notification from Google or Facebook to protect your account.

A 2 Factor authenticator is a method of authentication that places an extra layer of security for networks, user accounts and applications. It works by asking for a verification of the identity of the user trying to gain access to an account, network or application.

Essentially, with 2 FA, you can't log into any account, network or application without first verifying that you're the owner of the account or that you have been authorised by the owner. 2FA  blocks 99.9% of account hacks according Microsoft.

2 FA has been instrumental in protecting accounts and ensuring that the account owner's authorization is required to open any account.

Do You Need a 2 Factor Authentication?

Do you need your data protected from hackers? If yes, then you absolutely need a 2 Factor authentication.

On the off chance that you aren't convinced yet of how much you need a 2 FA, let's take a look at what happens when you get hacked.

If a hacker gets access to your Gmail password and believe it or not, figuring out your password is the easier part of the hacking process. Hackers easily get that especially when you repeat passwords like 61% of people do. They can also use email links or downloadable software to get access to your password.

Without a 2 FA authentication, all they need to have access to your Gmail account is your password. With this password, they can lock you out of your account by changing the password and using 2 Factor authentication.

But the bad news doesn't end there. They own your digital identity now so they can impersonate you and use your identity to hurt other people. Some of them send harmful emails to people who know and trust you. At this point, it's not just you getting hurt by this, your acquaintances and business associates are now getting hurt.

As bad as that sounds, it still isn't the worst that could happen.

Remember how your Gmail / email account is connected to practically every network, account, digital service and application you're on?

Guess what? These hackers know it too and they'll take their time to change the passwords on these accounts and lock you out as well. Think of your banking apps, and other important services you're subscribed to.

They could also go an extra mile to lock you out of your social media accounts.

Sounds like the stuff of nightmares right? That's because it is and 2 Factor authentication can be your dream catcher.

What if you had a 2 Factor authentication? How different would this scenario be?

For starters, the hackers won't get past your email password. They could discover your email password but would be unable to log into your account. If they try, the 2 factor authentication would require a verification code generated just for that single login.

The way some authenticators work, the person logging in has to communicate with the owner of the account for the login process to be verified. That's because the authenticator displays a number and requires the verifier to confirm the number and include a biometric scan to complete the authentication process.

With this 2 factor authentication, it's practically impossible for hackers to get access to your accounts.

So, do you need a 2 factor authentication? If you'd like to revert the disaster painted above, then yes, you need 2 factor authentication ASAP.

There are many authenticators out there and choosing the right one to use is very important. You want to use an authenticator that provides maximum protection for your accounts and also allows for ease of use. Google's authenticator is one of the top authenticators out there for both protection and ease of use. It's also 100% effective at protecting accounts from hacking.

Let's take a look at how 2 Factor authentication works with Google.

How does Google's 2 Factor Authentication work?

When you want to log into your account protected by Google's 2 factor authentication, here's how it goes.  

  • You'll input your password
  • Then Google authenticator would ask for a code. This code would be sent to you via text, mobile app, or voice call. Alternatively, you can use your security key and just insert it into your computer's USB port.
  • Once the code has been confirmed, you can log in.

But before you can use Google Authenticator for your accounts, you'll first need to set up 2-step verification on the account before linking it to Google Authenticator.

Can Google Authenticator be used for Multiple Accounts?

One of the most asked questions asked about Google's authenticator is if it can be used for multiple accounts.

For people who have more than one email account or would like to use it for more than their email accounts, can Google authenticator protect multiple accounts?

Yes it can and I'll be showing you how to set it up.

How to set up 2-step Verification for Multiple Accounts on Google

Google authenticator can generate verification codes for multiple accounts even from the same device. The only important thing to note is that each of the Google accounts would require different secret keys.

To set up multiple accounts on one Google authenticator app, see the following steps:

  1. Turn on 2-step verification for each of the accounts. For instance, if you'd like to add a Facebook and Twitter account to your Google authenticator, you'll have to turn on 2 factor authentication in the app. To do this, go to settings and privacy and look for 2-step verification. Or you can check the support page for the account you'd like to add and follow the instructions on how to turn on 2-step verification.
  2. Link it to your Google authenticator app.

You can also set up one Google Authenticator for multiple devices if you use more than one device. This would allow you to generate verification codes from each of your devices.

How can you do this? Let's take a look …

  • Install the Google Authenticator app on all the devices you'd like to use
  • Go to the 2-step verification section on your Google account. If you've already set up a 2 factor authentication with Google for your account, back it up and remove it from the Authenticator.
  • Follow the steps on the screen to set up a 2-step verification for your authenticator app. You'll see the same QR code or secret key on each of the devices
  • You can then confirm the verification codes on each of the devices are the same.

And just that easily, you'd have set up your Google authenticator for multiple devices and accounts.


Protecting your accounts, networks and identity in today's digital world is difficult enough without having a good authenticator. 2 factor authentication is a must have for every account and with Google's Authenticator, you don't have to use multiple authenticators for multiple accounts. You can have it all on one authenticator. Get started on protecting your accounts using Google's Authenticator.