How To: Transfer Your Authy Account to a New Phone

Transfer Your Authy Account to a New Phone

One of the main reasons Authy was able to top our list of the best two-factor authentications apps was its ability to transfer access to a new device. This feature ensures that whenever you get a new phone, you don't lose all your tokens. However, if the process is done incorrectly, you can leave your account vulnerable.

With Authy, you don't have to worry about losing access to important online accounts just because your phone gets lost, broken, or stolen. You can either transfer the access from one phone to another or keep your account accessible on two devices, so it is even easier to access your tokens. Both options have similar procedures, only differing by one step, which I'll outline below

Step 1: Download Authy on the New Phone

Obviously, you need Authy on the new phone to get started. Head over to the Play Store or App Store and download Authy.

Step 2: Enable Multi-Device

To transfer access, you need to enable Multi-Device, a feature which is disabled by default. On your old phone, open Authy and select "Settings" (on iOS) or the three vertical dots then "Settings" (on Android). The next page looks different depending on which operating system your device uses.

For iOS, select the "Devices" tab located at the bottom of your screen. For Android, you'll find the same tab near the top of the screen. Once under the tab, select "Allow Multi-device" to enable the toggle.

Step 3: Transfer Access

On your new phone, when you open Authy, a page will appear asking for your phone number. Authy uses your phone number as a way to store your account, making it easier to retrieve. Once inputted, a new prompt will appear asking you to verify your account in one of three ways: using your old device, by phone, or by SMS. Since using an existing phone is both the easiest and safest method, we will start with that one.

Select "Use existing device" to reveal a new prompt asking you to wait for approval. On your old phone, a notification will appear asking you to approve the new device. Select "Accept," which prompts a new popup asking you to input "Yes" (on iOS) or "OK" (on Android). Input the text and select "OK," and after a few seconds, your new device will have access to your account.

If you don't have the old phone (because it's broken or stolen), you can still use "SMS" or "Phone call" to input the code. Choosing "SMS" will have the system send you a text message with your code, which you input in the prompted area. For "Phone call," Authy will call your phone number and read off the code you need to enter. Once the code is correctly entered, you can see all your accounts.

Step 4: Unlock Your Database

You may have noticed that all your accounts have a small red padlock next to their name. This icon indicates that these accounts are encrypted and require a passcode to be entered before you can access them. Select an account to bring up the "Decrypt Accounts" page. Input your password (the one you created when you first signed up for Authy) and select the button.

Once done correctly, you will no longer see the red padlock and you'll be able to see each token for your accounts.

Step 5: Protect Your Account

Now that you have successfully transferred your accounts, let us re-establish protection. First, whether you are getting rid of your old phone or plan to keep it, you'll want to make sure someone else can't access your account using just your password.

Since spoofing phone numbers is possible, you need to prevent a potential hacker from also adding their device to the list of connected devices. Therefore, you should turn off "Allow multi-device" (which you enabled in Step 2). By disabling this feature, a hacker won't be able to transfer access to their device.

Second, if you plan to sell your old phone, or it was lost or stolen, you should remove its access so that someone using those devices can't access your tokens. Enter "Settings," and under "Devices," select a device under the grouping Other Connected Devices. Tap the "Remove Device" button and select "Yes" on the popup.

Now that access it removed, a few things happen. Any Authy-powered tokens (ones which use Authy's push notifications to send tokens) will no longer work on the new device. Backup and sync will also stop working, preventing any permanent changes to your tokens. The removed device will also not be able to add new tokens or authorize new devices.

You should be aware that it won't block access to tokens not powered by Authy (which will probably be most accounts), so we strongly recommend using a password manager on those accounts to strengthen your other layer of defense.

Cover image and screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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