Where Do I Find My Lost Google Authenticator key?

What is Google Authenticator?

The Google Authenticator is an app that utilizes two-factor authentication (2FA) services with the help of two algorithms. The first one is the Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP) and the other is the HMAC-based One-time Password Algorithm (HOTP). The algorithms are used for authenticating users of smartphone apps by Google itself.

The app gives users a 6-8 digit one-time password, which the users have to then type in addition to their login and password to log into Google. This applies to both Google services and other websites. Google Authenticator is also capable of generating passwords for third-party apps as well. This includes file hosting services and other software. The Authenticator was originally open-source, but its newest builds are not.

How do I use it?

Usually, you would install Google Authenticator on your smartphone. Afterward, any time you try to log into a website that two-factor authentication, you will supply your username and password to the website you're visiting. The Authenticator will generate another password, which is one time only. That same password will be separately generated by the website itself. Once you enter it you'll be able to browse as normal.

Sounds complicated, right? The way this works is the selected website will transmit a shared secret key to you via a secure channel, which will be stored in the Google Authenticator app itself. You'll need this key for any and all future visits to the website.

The benefit of this whole process is that knowing your username and password won't be enough to hack your accounts. An attacker would also need to have physical access to your smartphone and the secret key itself. This drastically reduces the chances of having your security breached.

What if I lose my Google Authenticator key?

First of all, it's recommended that you change your Google account login and password to prevent hacks while you recover your key. Here's how that can be done.

Use a backup phone.
If you have a backup phone listed Google can send the codes to it in the event you lost your main one.

Sign in from your computer.
If you're logged into your Google account on your computer you might be able to disable the two-step verification until you can get back your verification key.

Get a new phone.
You may be able to get a phone or SIM card with the same number depending on your chosen carrier.

Fill out an account recovery form.
This is the hardest and longest step. It's generally a last resort.

  1. Sign in to your Google account.
  2. Navigate to the verification code page.
  3. Select "More options".
  4. Click "Get help".
  5. Then "Request Google's help".

Take your time to fill out the form. It will be based on the things Google knows about you, like when you created your account, which services you use etc. Be careful and be honest with each question.

July 5, 2018

20 Comments

  • James Mitchell:

    The worst thing I ever did was put on 2 step authorization. Lost my phone and now i am screwed. There seems to be no way to get it back again. Scan a code? What code. There are no instructions on where to get the damn code. Enter a setup key? Sure where is it?
    What a mess

  • Marcia L. Langlois Payne:

    Asking for this long google key I just got this phone recently and it says my password is incorrect can you please help?

  • john v:

    Hello, Iost my old phone that had google Authenticator linked to my hyperfund account, and they’re making it nearly impossible to gain access. I’m locked out of over $10k! Is there anything at all I can do to recover my Authenticator account ?

  • Perry:

    I need help with the Google Authenticator app. I no longer have my old phone. How can I activate Google Authenticator on my new phone? It is asking for a key or a bar code. I don't have either of these because I do not have my old phone. Please get back to me at your earliest, because this has caused a HUGE problem for my business now. Time is of utmost importance. Thank you.

  • Feroz chisti:

    I have forgot my google authenticator security key and cannot login my Hyperfund account.

  • Moses:

    I lost my phone with the website that uses google authenticator and I didn't save the secret key code. What Should I do to retrieve a lost secret key code?

  • Williams:

    I lost my phone with the website that uses google authenticator and I didn't save the secret key code. What Should I do to retrieve a lost secret key code?

  • Arulprakash:

    I changed my phone and i lost the google authenticator app key..i cant able to access my application

  • Randy:

    I changed from my old phone to a new phone. I can't remember my authenticator key. Please kindly advise me on how to recover it.
    Thanks

  • RAMAMPIHIRATRA Angelo Joseph Albert:

    J'ai perdu mon téléphone avec le site Web qui utilise Google Authenticator et je n'ai pas enregistré le code de la clé secrète. Que dois-je faire pour récupérer un code de clé secrète perdu?

  • Auwal Rabiu:

    I went Google authentic key due to my old authentic key not remember pls help me

  • Cassi Bales:

    i need help in either disabling the google auth or recovering the key. i literally cant do anything at all about it either nor can i let google know about it. ive tried everything. this was a bad idea.

  • Esegbue Jeremiah:

    I changed from my old phone to a new phone. I can't remember my authenticator key. Please kindly advise me on how to recover it.
    Thanks

  • Emmanuel:

    Hello there! I need help in recovering my authenticator KEY. I changed my phone without disabling the 2FA. Now I'm having issue accessing my paxful account. I really need your help as soon as possible. A lot of money is at stake.

  • Lunga:

    I lost my phone with the website that uses google authenticator and I didn't save the secret key code. What Should I do to retrieve a lost secret key code?

  • Jay:

    I need help with the Google Authenticator app. I no longer have my old phone. How can I activate Google Authenticator on my new phone? It is asking for a key or a bar code. I don't have either of these because I do not have my old phone. Please get back to me at your earliest, because this has caused a HUGE problem for my business now. Time is of utmost importance. Thank you.

  • Amir:

    hi, I need help with Google authentication(GA) app.I sold my phone yesterday and i uninstalled instagram and the GA without disabling the 2FA on instagram and the codes on GA. Now that I have moved to a new device,just found out that i can't recover the codes and the GA starts as new. What should I do? I had one instagram and one reddit account on it...

  • Josh:

    Tryed every possible way to get into this account, nothing has worked

  • Pious Paulachan:

    I want Google authentic key due to my old authentic key not remember

  • Bikash sinha:

    I want Google authentic key due to my old authentic key not remember

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