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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 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. Under “Backup codes,” click Setup or Show codes.
  • 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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Nick is an Accounts expert and the author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about how to improve it.

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