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8 Best Authenticator Apps Of 2023

In today's digital era, online security is more vital than ever. Data hacks in recent years have shown that relying on passwords alone may be inadequate. A single password is often quite a feeble way of protecting critical data, such as what's in your bank account and social media accounts. This is especially true when we reuse the same passwords — we've all done it, but it's generally not a good idea.

Authenticator apps are the best way to significantly increase your security and add an extra layer of data protection to your online accounts. But with so many authenticator apps available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the best and most reliable one. In this guide, we've compiled and compared the best authenticator apps so you can choose the best security option for you.

Our Top Picks For Best Authenticator Apps

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Best Authenticator Apps Reviews

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Best Free Option: Authy

Why We Chose It

For a free authenticator app, Authy by Twilio has a lot of perks that are hard to beat. The app allows you to stay secure online so long as you're willing to provide your phone number. It's required for the app sign-up process, and you also have to verify it via SMS, so make sure your phone is at hand when you sign up.

Users can add specific accounts to Authy, like Amazon, for example. You can use Authy with laptops, mobile phones and even Apple Watches with multi-device support, and can receive authorization codes or deauthorize a lost device through any of your connected devices. Authy even has encrypted backups and is compatible with cryptocurrencies.

Stay protected for free with the easy-to-use and platform-compatible Authy.

Pros
  • Use it free for up to 100 authentications per month
  • Works on any iOS and Android device
Cons
  • Not easy to determine how much time you have before the current token becomes invalid

Overall Rating

  • 4.5/5 based on ratings from g2, GetApp and PCMag

Compatibility

Authy is compatible with many online platforms and software, including Facebook, Google, Apple, Dropbox and Microsoft services. In addition, you can receive verification codes via phone, email or text message.

Pricing

Right out of the gate, Authy is a fan favorite. Why? Because it's free. Many authentication apps require a subscription or payment of some kind, but Authy is entirely free without lacking any of the essential features or perks.

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Best for Businesses: Duo

Why We Chose It

Cisco 2FA (two-factor authentication) app Duo is another of the best authentication apps out there. While the UI may be a little lacking, there are many reasons why you should still consider it, namely its great integration options for businesses of all sizes.

Duo helps business owners introduce two-factor authentication to their employees' current security measures. It also works great for individuals. The interface is a little cluttered in some areas, but it's not so bad that you should write off the app as a whole.

Duo provides several options for initiating authentication: push notifications, SMS messages, security keys and more. In addition, Duo will record the information for each account access attempt in the app, including the IP address and location of where the attempt was made. The system monitors behavior and uses the information it gains to determine potentially fraudulent access attempts.

Deploying Duo is easy, and user management is even easier. That's one of the many reasons why Duo is especially well-loved by businesses and corporations. The dashboard is intuitive and there are well-documented instructions for setting up the system.

As a system designed for corporations, the dashboard makes it easy to see which devices have been locked out after failed authentication attempts and allows you to reset them from one single location.

Duo is compatible with a number of popular sites, including Microsoft Office, Slack, Zoom, DocuSign and others. It can also be easily integrated with any RADIUS, LDAP or SAML-compliant apps.

Keep your employees cyber-safe today with Duo.

Pros
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • Informs you about things that might compromise your account on a platform
  • Is compatible with multiple systems
Cons
  • A little tricky to set up at first

Overall Rating

  • 4.2/5 based on ratings from g2, GetApp and PCMag

Compatibility

Duo is supported on iOS and Microsoft platforms and offers the Duo app specifically for mobile devices.

Pricing

Duo by Cisco is aimed more at corporations than individuals, but the company knows how to create an app for both types of customers. Moreover, they have a user-based price plan, making the app accessible and affordable for companies and individuals alike.

Duo is free to use for up to ten accounts. After that, you'll have to pay a minimum of $3 per month for additional accounts. Individual users will typically be able to stay within the limit and can use all of Duo's features for free.

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Easiest to Use: Google Authenticator

Why We Chose It

Anything you want to do on Google Authenticator is extremely simple, even for those of us who aren't computer experts. You only need to enter your account information to get started. After that, you can get two-step verification codes on your phone, improving your security and ensuring that no one else can access your Google Account and Google Drive. This is an excellent option for keeping your information safe and in one place, especially for those with existing Google integrations.

The Google Authenticator app works by providing you with a code to help you log into your accounts. So, beyond your password, you'll have an extra code to enter when you log in.

In addition to the basic security features, Google will also help you protect your account with its Security Checkup feature. This tool will provide you with personalized and practical recommendations for security. For example, if you have a weak password somewhere, it can help you figure out a better one.

One of the best things about using Google Authenticator is that it's one of the most recognized authenticators around. You don't need an online connection to receive a code, and most websites should accept it. While it lacks other features, like syncing to multiple devices, it's easy to use and to add your accounts whenever you need them.

Download Google Authenticator for seamless two-step protection.

Pros
  • Compatible with most mobile devices
  • Free and easy to implement
  • Seamless experience retrieving one-time codes
Cons
  • The refresh time for the verification codes can be a little too quick

Overall Rating

  • 4.7/5 based on ratings from g2 and GetApp

Compatibility

Google is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms.

Pricing

Google Authenticator is completely free. It might lack some of the more advanced features you would like out of your security app, such as transferring account information between devices, but it's simple enough to set up that anyone can use it.

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Best Password Manager and Authenticator: LastPass

Why We Chose It

You've probably heard of LastPass before, as it is one of the more well-known options with two-step authentication. It offers extra encryption and lots of advanced features. It also works with Google, so everything connected to your Google accounts will be secure.

If you want to use the full features of LastPass, you'll need to pay for a subscription, but you can still access the LastPass Authenticator for free. You just need to download the app onto your devices and log in to your account. From there, it works just like any other authenticator app.

You only need to sign in to your accounts to get your passcodes and can receive automated push notifications for one-tap login. Since the app connects everywhere, it's easy for you to get started.

LastPass will work on iOS and Android devices and will even provide you with some backup SMS codes in case you have trouble logging in. If you do want to pay for a subscription and add the LastPass Password Manager, the LastPass app will connect seamlessly with it to provide you with those extra features.

For quick and easy authentication, try LastPass.

Pros
Cons
  • Limited support

Overall Rating

  • 4.2/5 based on ratings from g2, GetApp and PCMag

Compatibility

LastPass can be used with iOS and Android.

Pricing

LastPass is a free option — you only need to download it from the app store onto your phone to get started. However, in order to access many of its advanced features, such as access on multiple devices and encrypted storage, you must pay for a $4/mo subscription.

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Best for Security: Microsoft Authenticator

Why We Chose It

We chose Microsoft Authenticator as best for security because the company recently added more advanced and robust security features. For example, admins can prevent approving authentications accidentally with the help of location context, number matching and application context. There is a new and improved Admin UX and API now that should make it even easier to manage the Microsoft Authenticator app.

Beyond that, Microsoft Authenticator will be easy to set up and use for users who are unfamiliar with authenticator apps in general. All you have to do is log in with your existing Microsoft account or other social media accounts, such as Facebook. The app also gives you an authentication code to connect directly to your Outlook account, making the process seamless and quick.

Recently, Microsoft Authenticator has expanded its features to include a password manager function. With this feature, users can autofill passwords for any apps and websites on their mobile devices.

Yet another popular integration is with the Edge browser. As an Edge browser user, you can set Microsoft Authenticator as your default auto-fill app so you can log in to accounts and websites easily.

Already have a Microsoft account? Set up your Microsoft Authenticator in minutes.

Pros
  • Free to use across various platforms and devices
  • Set Microsoft Authenticator as your default autofill app on your phone
  • Good UI that is easy to navigate
Cons
  • Does not integrate with many third-party platforms and applications

Overall Rating

  • 4.6/5 based on ratings from g2, GetApp and Capterra

Compatibility

Microsoft Authenticator can be used on all mobile devices, including Android phones, iPhones and Windows phones and tablets.

Pricing

Microsoft Authenticator is free across all platforms.

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Best for Large Organizations: Salesforce Authenticator

Why We Chose It

Salesforce authenticator is a great option for anyone already using Salesforce, notably companies and organizations. It will even use location services automatically to quickly verify geographical locations that you often access and trust, such as your home or workplace. This makes it great for remote work setups.

When it comes to using Salesforce for your company or organization, the entire setup process is easy. Company admins can set up the authenticator with a few clicks by enabling a permission set. Once it's all set up, the company's users will be invited to go through a simple onboarding process the next time they log in.

Overall, users enjoy the seamless and uncomplicated experience of Salesforce Authenticator. Salesforce can help reduce all the common security risks and challenges that passwords are known for.

Get started with Salesforce Authenticator.

Pros
  • Great option for companies
  • Allows users to create backup login accounts in the cloud
  • Easy to log in and navigate the authenticator
  • Compatible with Apple Watch
Cons
  • Sometimes the remember features fails and users must manually confirm their location

Overall Rating

  • 4.3/5 based on ratings from g2 and GetApp

Compatibility

Salesforce supports Facebook, Outlook, Dropbox, Google, Evernote and the whole Salesforce suite including Marketing Cloud, App Cloud, Sales Cloud, Analytics Cloud and more. It is also compatible with the Apple Watch.

Pricing

Salesforce authenticator is free to download.

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Best for Apple Users: Step Two

Why We Chose It

As a 2FA app that is focused on the Apple ecosystem, Step Two is known for being easy to use. Its free account lets you add up to 10 profiles, but if you'd like to add more accounts, you just need to pay a one-time fee.

Apple users love this authenticator for its compatibility with Apple Watches. When you need to log on to your Macbook, you won't need to retrieve your one-time password from your iPhone. Instead, simply check the password from your Apple Watch with a quick glance.

Another popular feature is the intuitive and simple interface that makes navigation a breeze. Each account is shown clearly in the form of a card. There, you'll find details like the user's name, email address and two-step code. You can choose a different color for each card to make organization and navigation even easier.

With Step Two, you also get access to a Safari extension that allows you to quickly autofill two-step codes. This means you can log in to any of your accounts much faster and more conveniently.

Discover the simplicity of Step Two.

Pros
  • Minimalistic and intuitive design
  • Add up to 10 accounts for free
  • Compatible with Apple Watch
Cons
  • Only compatible with Apple devices

Overall Rating

  • 4.5/5 based on ratings from Apple

Compatibility

The Step Two app is compatible with MacOS, iPhone and other iOS devices.

Pricing

Free, or a one-time purchase of $10 if you need more than 10 accounts.

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Best for Convenience: Authenticator App by 2 Stable

Why We Chose It

We love 2Stable's biometric authentication that allows you to launch the app with Touch ID and Face ID. This eliminates the time and hassle of manually entering your login and password.

With a strong focus on security, 2Stable encrypts all your data, even if it's in cloud storage. You won't have to worry about losing any data, since it's all backed up automatically and synced across your iOS devices via iCloud storage.

The app works seamlessly across various devices. Even when apps are compatible with different devices, they often work better on certain ones than others. 2Stable's Authenticator App doesn't have this issue. In fact, it works really well with the Apple Watch, thanks to its responsiveness.

When it comes to getting started with Authenticator by 2Stable, the best thing is that you don't even need to spend time creating an account. With the data saved and encrypted in your iCloud backup memory, all you have to do is remember the specific password that you chose to encrypt your iCloud account and data.

Discover Authenticator App by 2Stable.

Pros
  • Has biometric authentication so you can access the app with Touch ID and Face ID
  • Allows offline use and can generate secure tokens in airplane mode
  • Import easily from other authenticator apps
Cons
  • Only compatible with Apple devices

Overall Rating

  • 4.7/5 based on ratings from MacSources and Product Hunt

Compatibility

Authenticator app by 2Stable is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch and Mac.

Pricing

Downloading the app is free, but if you want the premium version, it costs $10 a year.

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Other Apps We Considered

  • 2FAS – This is a straightforward and free two-factor authentication plug-in that you can install on Chrome with no account needed. It's ideal for Chrome users and the automated system works to log in to your accounts with just one click. However, it's not ideal if you are looking to protect a range of devices.
  • Yubico – The Yubico YubiKey app is unique as it is a physical piece of hardware that is compatible with most devices. It's pretty indestructible and hard to hack. If you are worried about losing it though, steer clear.
  • Aegis (open-source software) – A great free authenticator for Android that's open source. Great for anyone looking for something they can tweak, but it's no good for Apple users.
  • andOTP – andOTP is another great choice for Android users. You can use the QR scanner and 6-digit code to log in to your accounts and back up encrypted files. Ultimately, though, we prefer apps that are compatible with all systems.

Authenticator Apps Guide

Main Things To Consider When Choosing Authenticator Apps

At a minimum, an authenticator app should be compatible with the operating system you use. Typically, they are all compatible with both Apple and Android devices, but those compatible with Linux and Ubuntu may be harder to find.

You want an authenticator app that is reliable and easy to use. Therefore, choose apps with conclusive third-party test results and solid customer reviews.

It's best to look for an authenticator app with an opt-in feature for cloud backups and syncing. Security researchers don't always recommend syncing or backing up the codes in a two-factor authentication account.

Although backing up can help you re-enter your accounts if you use your phone, you have a higher risk of losing important information if you are hacked. So, while doing your research on the best authenticator app, look into how they're encrypted and where they store codes.

Apps with support for PIN or biometric locks are also a plus, as this can add another layer of protection to the app. You also want to look for one that offers multiple ways to recover your account if something were to happen.

What Is The Average Cost Of Authenticator Apps?

Some of the most recommended authenticator apps available on the market are free to use.

Paid apps tend to cost from $30 to $70 per year. Many come with monthly subscription options so you can test out an app without too much commitment.

How To Choose The Right Authenticator App

With so many authenticator apps out there, it can be challenging to narrow down the best one for your needs. Below are some important questions to ask yourself when choosing an authenticator app.

  • Is the app compatible with your operating system?
  • Are you okay with providing a phone number?
  • Do you prefer a free or paid app?
  • Do you need an app that works offline?
  • Does it allow you to back up your information in case you switch or cannot access the device you used to set up your account?
  • How easy is it to install?

Check out the company's reputation on its website and according to customer reviews. Reputable sources to check for ratings and reviews are g2, GetApp, Trustadius and GitHub. You can also find reviews on the Apple or Google Play store. Consider whether multiple people have posted about the same advantage or issue and whether that's a key plus or concern for you.

How Can You Set Up An Authenticator App?

To set up your authenticator, you first want to download the app on your iOS or Android device. Once you download the app onto your phone, desktop or device, visit any of your accounts that support two-factor authentication apps. Look in the settings to find where you add the multi-factor authentication (MFA), and then choose to use your authenticator app.

You then need to go into your app and click on "Add Account." You will find a QR code on the website you are trying to add the two-factor authentication and will have to scan this QR code through your app.

You'll get a confirmation code that you will need to type back into the website to confirm the setup after the app has scanned the QR code. Once you've typed this code in and it has been verified, you're all set.

Authenticator Apps FAQ

Do authenticator apps work offline?

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The short answer: it depends. Many authenticator apps will work if you're offline, and don't require a mobile or internet connection to generate the authentication code. You can then scan or manually enter the code, as you may not be able to send it to the requesting device without access to the Internet.

The software used by authenticator apps is often similar to the one used by the companies that make them, like TOTP technology for Google, which does not need an internet connection.

How do authenticator apps work?

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Authenticator apps are used as a better security measure to replace passwords, which can be easily broken by hackers. Authenticator apps use an algorithm (usually HOTP, HMAC or TOTP) to generate one-time passcodes (OTPs), which are time-based.

These are typically six-digit codes that refresh approximately every 30 seconds, so you can only use them during a limited time frame. Authenticator apps send these codes to your email or phone through their own secure channels in order to prevent them from being compromised by hackers.

How safe are authenticator apps?

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Quality authenticator apps are typically a safe form of MFA. They use one-time passwords as an additional layer of protection to standard login details, making them difficult to intercept or forge. Authenticators make codes this way so they can't be sent through a network where hackers can intercept them and get into your devices. They therefore do an excellent job of protecting your information.

Remember, though, that authenticator apps are linked directly to physical devices. Be wary of your security if you lose your phone. If you get a new device or new phone, you will also have to set up your authentication app(s) again.

How can you use authenticator apps?

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You will need to set up the authentication method through the app and connect it to the account you want to protect. Once you do this, any time you or someone else tries to log in to that account, you will be notified on your device.

Let's say, for example, that you set up your authenticator app to access your government account to submit your tax return. Here are the steps you'd take:

  • When you log in, the site will ask you to choose your 2FA method.
  • Scan the QR code or open your authenticator app.
  • Generate a one-time code or select the code for the relevant site.
  • Insert the code to log in.

How We Found The Best Authenticator Apps

We found the best authenticator apps by taking into multiple factors. These included:

  • Features: We compared the range of features available and chose apps with the most extensive and reliable options.
  • Price: We reviewed prices to make sure there were effective options for those on a budget as well as for those willing to spend a bit more.
  • Ease-of-use: We ensured each app was easy to install and use.
  • Compatibility: We made sure that Apple, Windows, Android and Linux users would find an option that works for them.

We compared these factors in-depth by checking out customer reviews (particularly on Google Play Store and Apple Store). We also considered independent tests and ratings from reputable sites like G2, PCMag and GitHub. Lastly, we tested the apps ourselves.

Summary Of The Best Authenticator Apps Of 2023

While there are many forms of authentication, two-factor authentication has become a staple in internet security. To protect your data, it's best to choose an authenticator app to set up your accounts for two-factor authentication, as it will protect your accounts even if someone has gained access to your username and password.

Ultimately, there are many quality authenticator apps that are free and easy-to-use, so there really is nothing to lose by trying them out.