Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Step-by-Step Guide – Turning on Two-Factor Authentication – Gmail

First published October 2019

Introduction

This step-by-step guide shows you how to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) on your computer and mobile devices for Gmail.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a process that typically requires a combination of something a user knows (pin, secret question) and something a user has (cards, fingerprint) in order to access a program or operating system.

diagram of two factor showing log in screen plus second factor equals access

Why is it important to turn it on?

Using 2FA to access your favourite programs provides enhanced security to traditional usernames and passwords. The multiple layers of authentication increase confidence that the user requesting access is actually who they claim to be i.e. you.

Where do I turn it on?

Where to turn on 2FA within a program depends on each program. However, the steps are universally simple and somewhat similar. Icons and language may differ slightly depending on the program, or device you are using.

Setting up 2FA for Gmail on your computer

Two-factor authentication is available for Gmail through your Google Account.

After you set it up, you’ll sign in to your account in two steps using:

  • Something you know (your password)
  • Something you have (like your phone or a security key dongle)   

  1. Sign into your Google Account
    desktop step 1

  2. On the left navigation panel, click Security
    desktop step 2

  3. On the Signing in to Google panel, click 2-Step Verification
    desktop step 3

  4. Click Get started
    desktop step 4

  5. Follow the steps on the screen
    desktop step 5

  6. Choose a second verification step:
    • Phone prompt – sent to your phone
    • Text message (SMS) or call – a 6-digit code sent to your phone
    • Security key – a small device you Connect to your phone, tablet, or computer
    desktop step 6

Turning on 2FA for Gmail on your mobile devices

NOTE: If you have turned on 2FA for Gmail using your desktop computer, you may still need to turn it on for your mobile devices.


  1. Open the Gmail app
    mobile step 1

  2. Tap the Profile bubble on the top right of your screen
    mobile step 2

  3. Tap Manage your Google Account
    mobile step 3

  4. Tap Security
    mobile step 4

  5. Tap 2-Step Verification
    mobile step 5

Second verification steps

  1. Then follow the on-screen instructions
    • Phone prompt – sent to your phone
    • Text message (SMS) or call – a 6-digit code sent to your phone
    • Security key – a small device you connect to your phone, tablet, or computer

Third party 2FA apps

If you would like to use a third party 2FA app, there are many available. Most are free of charge and effective with Gmail. The recommendation is to do your research and find a solution that’s right for you. Below are some examples of 2FA apps currently available.

Google Authenticator

Lastpass logo

LastPass Authenticator

Microsoft Authenticator

Authy icon

Authy 

 

Date
October 9th, 2019