Use a security key for 2-Step Verification

Security keys can help you keep hackers out of your Google Account. With security keys, you get the extra protection of 2-Step Verification and can sign in without your phone.

Note: If you’re a journalist, activist, or someone else at risk of targeted online attacks, learn about the Advanced Protection Program.

Requirements for adding a key to your account

Before you can use a key to sign in, you’ll need to add it to your account using a computer.

  • Have a computer with a USB port and the latest version of a compatible browser like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Edge.
  • Have a security key that plugs into a USB port and works with FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F).

Note: If you’re using a Titan Security Key from Google, you can learn more about what computers and devices it’s compatible with.

Step 1: Get your keys

You can buy Titan Security Keys from the Google Store or order a compatible security key from a retailer you trust.

Step 2: Add a key to your account

  1. Go to your Google Account.
  2. On the left navigation panel, click Security.
  3. On the Signing in to Google panel, click 2-Step Verification.
    1. If you haven’t set up 2-Step Verification already, click Get started. Otherwise, skip to step 4.
  4. Click Choose another option and click Security Key.
  5. Follow the steps to add your Security key.
    1. To help you sign in if your key is lost, add recovery info and backups.

Step 3: Sign in using your key

Security keys are a more secure second step. If you have other second steps set up, use your security key to sign in whenever possible. If a security key doesn't work on your device or browser, you might see an option to sign in with a code or prompt instead.

Note: You’ll be asked for your security key or another second step any time you sign in from a new computer or device.

With Bluetooth (BLE)
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, sign in to your Google Account or open a Google App.
  2. Your device will detect that your account has a security key. Follow the steps to pair your device and key.

After pairing, you can sign in to your Google Account like you normally do. If we need to make sure it’s you, you’ll be asked to press the button on your key.

Fix problems with Bluetooth

Key won’t pair with phone or tablet

Make sure to:

Key won’t go into pairing mode

Make sure:

  • Your key is unplugged from your computer or charger
  • Your key is charged

Google Play Services error

  1. On your Android device, sign in with an account that doesn't use a security key.
  2. Google Play Services should start updating automatically.
    • Note: Make sure your device is connected to the internet.
  3. Sign back in to your Android device with the account that uses a security key.
  4. Follow the steps to sign in using your key with Bluetooth (BLE).

With Near Field Communication (NFC)

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, sign in to your Google Account or open a Google App.
  2. Your device will detect that your account has a security key. Follow the steps to sign in using your key.

Fix problems with NFC

Make sure to:

  • Turn on NFC on your device
  • Add the key to your account
  • Remove anything that might be blocking the NFC signal, like a case or sticker
  • Update your device to the latest version of Google Play Services
  • Try restarting your device
  • Try turning NFC off and on again

Google Play Services error

If your device was reset to factory settings, you may need to follow these steps:

  1. On your Android device, sign in with an account that doesn't use a security key.
  2. Google Play Services should start updating automatically. 
    • Note: Make sure your device is connected to the internet.
  3. Sign back in to your Android device with the account that uses a security key.
  4. Follow the steps to sign in using your key with Near Field Communication (NFC).

With USB

  1. Sign in to your Google Account. Your device will detect that your account has a security key.
  2. Connect your key to the USB port in your device.
  3. If you see a message from "Google Play services," tap OK. If not, move on to step 4.
  4. Turn on your key:
    • If your key has a gold disc, tap it.
    • If your key has a gold tip, tap and then press it.
    • If your key has a button, press it.
    • If your key has none of these features, you may need to remove and reinsert it. This type of key turns off after each use.

Lost security key

If your security key is lost, you can follow these steps to get back into your account and protect it. Choose the right steps for you depending on whether you’ve set up another second step like:

  • Verification codes
  • Google prompts
  • Backup codes
  • A different security key you’ve added to your account
  • A registered computer where you previously chose not to be asked for a verification code
If you have another second step
  1. Sign in to your Google Account with your password and your other second step.
  2. Follow the steps to remove the lost key from your account.
  3. Get a new security key. You may want to get an extra key you can keep in a safe place.
  4. Add the new key to your account.
If you don’t have another second step or forgot your password

Note: 2-Step Verification requires an extra step to prove you own an account. Because of this added security, it can take up to 3-5 business days for Google to make sure it’s you trying to sign in.

  1. Follow the steps to recover your account. You'll be asked some questions to confirm it's your account.
  2. You may be asked:
    • To enter an email address or phone number where you can be reached.
    • To enter a code sent to your email address or phone number. This code helps make sure you can access that email address or phone number.
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