Authenticator App Not Working? Don’t Panic, We’ve Got Your Back!

This post has been Last Updated 3 months ago by Kunal

Obviously, there could be multiple reasons why the Authenticator app is not working. This blog post precisely shows you how to fix the Authenticator app not working issue. Primarily, this is for Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator apps.

For both applications, you can apply the same steps. If you are using any third-party Authenticator app, you can also follow the same method for that as well. Authenticator apps essentially provide you with a key or a one-time password for login access.

How I Quickly Fixed Authenticator App Issues

screenshot of google authenticator app opened on my phone in hands

Now, let’s delve into the specifics and get your authenticator app back on track.

How I Fixed My Authenticator App When It Stopped Working

Fix 1: Connection Issues

signal strength and bars gif

First things first, let’s rule out any connectivity gremlins.

  • Check my internet connection: I always ensure my Wi-Fi or mobile data is turned on and functioning. If it’s still acting up, try restarting your router or phone.
  • Airplane mode, VPN, and battery saver: These features can sometimes interfere with app functionality. I make sure they’re disabled or properly configured.

Fix 2: App Issues

Sometimes, the culprit lies within the app itself.

update the app asap
  • Outdated app: I make sure to update my authenticator app and my device’s operating system to the latest versions.
  • App malfunction: If I encounter issues, I try force-quitting and restarting the app. If that doesn’t work, I consider reinstalling it.

Fix 3: Notification and Time Issues

Missing those crucial security codes? Check your notification settings.

sync options in google authenticator screenshot
  • Push notifications: I ensure they’re enabled for both the app and my device.
  • Time and date: An incorrect device time can cause synchronization issues. I set it to automatic for accurate code generation.

Synchronization Issues and Beyond

Alright, we’ve tackled the basics! Now, let’s explore some less common, but still pesky, authenticator app hiccups.

Fix 4: Synchronization Issues

Sometimes, my app and the service it’s linked to might get out of sync, leading to code mismatches. Here’s how to get them back in rhythm:

  • Time discrepancy: I double-check that my device and the service have the same time zone. Every second counts!
  • Account mismatch: I verify that the account registered in my app is the same one I’m trying to log in to. A typo can throw things off.

Fix 5: Backup and Recovery

Life happens, and sometimes phones get lost or upgraded. But fear not, your security codes can live on!

  • Lost phone/switched devices: Most authenticator apps offer backup and recovery options. I check my app’s settings for specific instructions.
  • Unable to recover: If all else fails, I don’t hesitate to contact the service provider for assistance.

Fix Google Authenticator App Not Working

They serve as the second layer of security for any type of account. Previously we have shown you how you can fix the OTP not receiving issue and this time let’s get started. 

  • authenticator app logo by google cropped screenshot
  • sync options in google authenticator screenshot
  • screenshot of highlighted google authenticator
  • screenshot of app info for google authenticator app
  • app info and uninstall options for authenticator
  • Ensure Time Sync: Personally, I’ve faced issues with Google Authenticator affecting my access to accounts like Evernote and Snapchat. It’s crucial to double-check the time on your device – whether it’s a laptop, PC, or smartphone. Even a minor time difference can render the codes invalid. I recommend syncing your device’s clock with a reliable time server to avoid this problem.
  • Use Backup Codes: In my experience, having backup codes saved from the initial setup of two-factor authentication (2FA) can be a lifesaver. These codes come in handy when you’re unable to receive a verification code through the authenticator app. If you have them, it’s worth trying one to regain access to your accounts.
  • Try Alternate Authentication Methods: When I encountered issues with Google Authenticator, I explored alternative authentication methods offered by some services. Evernote and Snapchat, for instance, may provide options to receive codes via email or SMS. If available, consider using these alternatives instead of relying solely on Google Authenticator.
  • Check for Updates: Another step I took was ensuring that the Google Authenticator app on my device was up to date. Updating the app can often resolve compatibility issues or bugs that may be causing authentication problems. It’s a simple yet effective solution worth trying.
  • Consider Using a Different Authenticator App: If the issue persists, I recommend considering switching to a different authenticator app like Authy. I found that Authy offers cloud backup and synchronization across devices, providing added convenience and security. It’s a reliable alternative that may alleviate the authentication issues you’re facing.
  • Contact Support: If none of the above solutions work, don’t hesitate to reach out to the support teams of the services you’re having trouble accessing. Whether it’s Evernote, Snapchat, or any other platform, their support teams may offer further assistance or guidance tailored to their platform.

Fix Microsoft Authenticator App Not Working

  • screenshot of microsoft authenticator app installed from play store
  • microsoft authenticator app screenshot
  • screenshot of app info for google authenticator app

Advanced Troubleshooting for Authenticator Apps Not Working

For those rare occasions where basic fixes don’t quite cut it, here are some additional troubleshooting tips:

  • Battery optimization (Android only): This feature can sometimes restrict app functionality. Try disabling it for your authenticator app.
  • Location services (if applicable): Some authenticator apps rely on location for added security. Ensure location access is enabled for the app.
  • Security settings: Check your device’s security settings to ensure no system restrictions are blocking the app’s operation.

Additional Tips

screenshots of google authenticator and microsoft authenticator app

While we’re on the topic of online security, let’s not forget these essential practices:

  • Strong passwords: I’ve learned to use unique and complex passwords for all my accounts. In my experience, password managers have been my best friend in keeping track of them all.
  • Phishing awareness: When it comes to online threats, I’ve become extra cautious. I’m always wary of suspicious emails and websites trying to mimic legitimate services. I never enter my security codes unless I’m sure it’s the real deal.
  • Software updates: I’ve made it a habit to regularly update my device’s software and security patches. This ensures that I keep vulnerabilities at bay and stay protected against potential threats.
FixGoogle AuthenticatorMicrosoft Authenticator
Ensure Time SyncCheck time on device is correctCheck backup settings
Use Backup CodesUse backup codes if availableVerify backup method
Try Alternate Authentication MethodsUse email or SMS if availableConsider alternatives temporarily
Check for UpdatesUpdate authenticator appReview authentication methods offered
Consider Using a Different Authenticator AppTry Authy or similar appsReset MFA configuration
Contact SupportContact service provider supportSeek IT assistance

Alternatives for Authenticator

AuthyHighly rated 2FA app, API, and authentication platformFreemium
Duo SecurityCloud-based 2FA to protect against breaches and account takeoversCommercial
Azure Multi-Factor AuthSecure sign-in for apps and data with simple user experienceCommercial
Microsoft AuthenticatorOne app to verify identity across accountsFree
Aegis AuthenticatorOpen source 2FA token managerFree & Open Source
Auth0Authentication and authorization servicesFree & Open Source
andOTP2FA app for AndroidFree & Open Source
FreeOTPOpen source HOTP/TOTP 2FAFree & Open Source
YubiKeyHardware-based 2FA security keyCommercial
SoloKeysOpen source security key for 2FA loginFree & Open Source
OktaEnterprise identity managementFreemium
LastPass Authenticator2FA built into LastPass password managerFreemium
DIGIPASS2FA solutions for mobile appsCommercial
RublonSecure access via multi-factor authenticationFreemium
OTP AuthCalculate one-time passwordsFree & Open Source


That’s it for today’s blog post. In today’s post, we have dedicatedly shown you all the practical steps that work for the Google Authenticator app and Microsoft Authenticator app. If you’re using any other Authenticator application, these steps are also applicable. Authenticator apps add an extra layer of security to your accounts when you log in. If they’re not working, you won’t be able to log in to your accounts.

For example, if you’re trying to access your Gmail account and Google Authenticator is not working, you might face issues logging in. To prevent such problems, we have shared 5 ultimate ways to fix issues with the Authenticator app not working or being down.

We hope you find the blog post helpful. If you don’t, please let us know in the comment section below. If you have any other queries, feel free to contact us.

Kunal Kashyap, the tech guru behind, simplifies complex tech issues with clear and user-friendly guides. With expertise in Android, iOS, and more, his tutorials empower users to tackle tech problems confidently. Kunal's engaging style makes technology accessible to both beginners and experts. Beyond tech, he explores psychology and keeps up with tech and business trends awarded by the Government and Namita Thapar.

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