Question from Kimberly: I have Two-Factor Authentication enabled on several of my accounts.
I’m getting ready to buy a new phone in a few days and I’m afraid I’ll have problems when I try to log into those accounts after I switch phones.
What I’m asking is will having Two-Factor Authentication enabled on my accounts cause me to get locked out of them when I replace my phone?
Rick’s answer: I understand your concern Kimberly, but you don’t really need to worry about getting locked out of your online accounts when you switch to a new phone.
If you receive your Two-Factor Authentication login codes via SMS text messages, the security of your accounts is tied to your phone number instead of to the phone itself.
Therefore, simply switching to a new phone won’t affect your ability to log in to your account at all as long as you keep the same phone number on the new phone.
What’s more, even if you lose your phone or it stops working for some reason, you’ll still be able to log in to to your accounts using your new phone as long as it uses the same phone number as the old phone.
What’s more, if you’ll be getting a new phone number on the new phone, that doesn’t have to pose a problem either…
If you know you’ll be getting a new phone number simply go into the settings for each of your accounts and remove Two-Factor Authentication on them right before you switch phones, then re-enable it using your new phone after you get it.
If you use an authentication app (Google Authenticator, for example) instead of SMS text messages to receive your phone’s login codes, simply remove Two-Factor Authentication from all of your accounts that it’s enabled on and then reactivate it after you have installed the authenticator app on your new phone.
And now, one final recommendation…
Most accounts/services provide a set of “Recovery Codes” that you can use to log in to your account if you’re unable to retrieve the login code from your phone for whatever reason.
If you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend that you take a few moments to retrieve those Recovery Codes from your accounts right now and store them in a safe place. You should be able to retrieve those codes by going into the Two-Factor Authentication section of each account’s Settings screens.
You’ll then be able to use one of the Recovery Codes to log in to an account with the new phone if the need to do so ever arises.
Bottom line: As long as you prepare for it in advance (by saving your account’s Recovery Codes) you’ll have no problem whatsoever logging into your Facebook account after you’ve switched to a new phone!
I hope this helps, Kimberly. Good luck!