The best part about having a two-factor authentication app is that you can easily protect all your other passwords and applications. With these apps, you can add that extra layer of security guaranteed to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. So you can carry out transactions or work without worrying about a data breach. Now while there are a number of authentication apps available for download, you need one that’s compatible with your devices, easy to use, truly secure, and reliable.
Having reviewed a number of options, we’d be reviewing what we recommend as the best two-factor authentication app – Authy. In this post, we’ll discuss some of its features, what makes it different and how you can set it up. We’ll also highlight some note-worthy alternatives just in case you need a backup. Keep reading to find out more.
What’s a 2FA App?
If you’re not familiar with two-factor authentication apps, it’s not too late to understand just how important it is. If you do anything online like shopping or mobile banking, there are times you’d worry about just how secure your information is. With a 2FA app, you can add a second layer of security so that hacking into your accounts becomes more difficult.
So ideally, when your regular apps or sites asks you for your login information, the password you enter is the first factor. If it proceeds to ask you for a code that may come in a text, email, or a token from a third-party app, that’s the second factor.
Now two-factor authentication by text isn’t really recommended. This is because it’s very easy to swap SIM cards and get access to the code afterward. Email verification can be a secure option if the email account also has two-factor authentication enabled.
With a two-factor authentication app, you get a one-time password (OTP) that’s time-based. The app uses an algorithm to create a string or code which ensures that only the physical device gets this OTP. This makes it a lot more secure than the other options.
What Makes a Good Two-Factor Authentication App?
Terrible 2FA apps not only offer a bad user experience but also pose security risks to their users. So here are a few things that a good 2FA app should have;
- A good two-factor app should be compatible with both iOS and Android. This makes it easy to switch between different devices whenever convenient. If it has a desktop extension, it should also be compatible with Mac and Windows.
- It should be secure – You should be able to choose your preferred login methods. For example, PIN, Passwords, Biometrics, or even Face ID. This makes it easy to also add another layer of security to your own app.
- Ensure this app is easy to use. This means being easy to add accounts, retrieve accounts, and delete accounts whenever you need to.
What Makes Authy Different from Other 2FA Apps
1. Compatible with most devices: Most 2FA apps are compatible with all types of smartphones. However, Authy is one app that works on both smartphones, tablets, and desktop devices. At the time of this post, it’s available on iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac – making it one of the most versatile two-factor authentication apps.
2. Multiple sign-in options: Authy supports PIN, Password, and Biometric options. So you can use either one or all of these options to protect access to your 2FA codes.
3. Works with almost every site: Authy works with any website that uses TOTP and supports Google Authenticator. So even when Authy is listed as part of the supported 2FA apps, if it’s compatible with Google Authenticator, it’s compatible with Authy.
4. User-friendly design: Perhaps one of the most outstanding features of Authy is its sleek yet functional design. Once you add a new app/site, it automatically adds an icon so it’s easier to find. It’s also easy to rearrange, add and delete apps. You can also scan for any app thanks to its grid-based design.
5. An extensive starter guide: Since there are different apps and setup processes for each one, Authy offers a resource page for getting started, and troubleshooting amongst other needs.
6. Highly rated: Being the best-rated 2FA app in the market, Authy has a 4.5-star rating on Google Play and App store along with a 4 Star rating on Google Store.
How to Set Up Authy
Ready to protect your devices with an extra layer of security, here’s how to set up your Authy app;
- Download the Authy app from your Google Playstore or iOS App store
- Once you open the app, you’d get a prompt to enter your email and phone number
- You’d get a verification SMS with a PIN, enter that PIN into the app
- And your Authy App is ready for use.
To add an account to your Authy, simply
- Tap on ‘Add account’ on your Authy App
- Scan the QR code on the website where you’re enabling 2FA
- If there’s no QR code and a key code instead, enter it manually by tapping on the link located at the bottom of your screen.
Since finding where to set up 2FA for each website or app varies, Authy created a guide page that shows a step-by-step process on how to turn on 2FA. You can search for any specific one here.
Alternatives to Explore
If you’d like to compare other options, we recommend trying Microsoft Authenticator, Duo, or salesforce. Although they are not as versatile as Authy, they can be an optional backup. Google Authenticator is also a great 2FA app you can use. However, finding your apps might be difficult as there are no icons to help you find them easily. It’s also way behind on software updates which makes it a little buggy – especially on Apple devices.
There’s also the option of a hardware authenticator. This is the highest level of security and once you lose your hardware token, you’d be locked out of your account for good.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. Do let us know if you have any further questions in the comments below. Also, share this post with your friends who might need that extra layer of security.