Passwords and codes used with 2-Step Verification

There are several differences between traditional passwords, like the one you use to sign in to your Google Account, and the verification codes and App passwords you might use for 2-Step Verification.

Traditional password

  • Created when you first sign up for a Google Account or change your password.
  • A combination of letters, digits and characters that you choose.
  • You need to remember your traditional password.
  • If you forget your traditional password, you can reset it using your recovery options, like your backup email address or phone number.

Codes for 2-Step Verification

Verification codes
  • Delivered to your phone through SMS or a voice call, or generated by the Google Authenticator App.
  • Six to eight digits (Example: 012345).
  • You don't have to remember your verification code, because you'll get a new one each time you need it.
  • You’ll need your verification code every time you sign in, unless you've marked a computer as "trusted."
  • Generate backup codes ahead of time and use them when you don't have access to your phone.
  • If you own an Android device, you can generate codes through Google Settings even if your device is offline.
Backup codes
  • You generate backup codes on the 2-Step Verification page. When asked for a backup option, select Use another backup option. Print or download the codes here.
  • Eight numbers (Example: 1234 8765).
  • Download or print the backup codes and keep them somewhere safe.
  • You'll need a backup code when you sign in without your phone or otherwise can't receive codes via SMS, voice call, or Google Authenticator.
  • If your set of codes might have been stolen or you’ve used many of the backup codes, you can generate a new set by clicking Get new codes. The old set of codes will become inactive.
App passwords

Note: If you have the most current operating system on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you no longer need App passwords to use 2-Step Verification.

  • You generate an App password on the App passwords page.
  • Sixteen letters (Example: ohgh uylv xkwd zgbz).
  • You don’t have to remember your App password, because you can generate a new one anytime.
  • You'll need your App password to sign in to your Google Account on a device, a mobile app (like the Gmail app on your iPhone), or a desktop app (such as AdWords Editor).
  • If you lose your phone or stop using an app that was authorized with an App password, revoke the App password.

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