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Google Authenticator vs Microsoft Authenticator – Which one is better?

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If your main objective is to secure your accounts with Two-Factor Authentication, both Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator are great choices. However, when you consider many additional options offered by the former, the choice becomes clear.

Main differences between Google and Microsoft Authenticator apps.

  1. Microsoft Authenticator offers an optional Cloud Backup which is not available in Google Authenticator.
  2. An optional App Lock feature will lock the Microsoft Authenticator until a valid pin or fingerprint is provided.
  3. Microsoft Authenticator offers Passwordless Logins with an on-screen prompt not available in Google Authenticator.
  4. Unlike Google Authenticator you can use Microsoft Authenticator as an authentication method with your Work or School account.
  5. Manage your passwords with Microsoft Authenticator and sync them across devices.
  6. Microsoft Authenticator will Autofill your passwords for you on sites and applications, a feature that is not available in Google Authenticator as it does not have a Password Management option.
  7. Microsoft Authenticator will save passwords on apps and sites you visit.
  8. You can use the Microsoft Authenticator application on multiple devices including Android, iOS, and Windows, and your TOTP or OTP codes and passwords will sync across. Google authenticator is available only for Android and iOS and does not have a synchronization option.
  9. You can import you existing passwords from a wide variety of applications to Microsoft Authenticator.
  10. Sync the data between Edge browser and Microsoft Authenticator.

As you can see, there is a big difference between both apps. However, the Microsoft Authenticator easily outperformed Google Authenticator with the vast array of features offered by the app.

But are all these options essential and useful, or is it just a gimmick?

You may also like: Deleting Google Authenticator? – Do this first.

Cloud Backup – Back up and recover account credentials.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Google Authenticator app is the lack of a backup option. You can use Google Authenticator on multiple devices or transfer the codes to a new phone or perhaps use an old phone as a backup, but the codes will not synchronize across devices.

Just imagine what will happen if you lose your phone with Google Authenticator on it and you haven’t saved your QR codes or Secret Keys.

You will get locked out of your accounts and rely on online support to hopefully unlock them, providing that you can prove your identity to them.

That’s why the Cloud Backup option, in my opinion, is the most useful feature available in Microsoft Authenticator.

App Lock – Secure Microsoft Authenticator app with Pin or Biometric authentication.

An App Lock is an optional feature, and once enabled, it will protect the Microsoft Authenticator app with Pin or Biometric authentication.

Microsoft Authenticator App Lock feature options in the settings.
App Lock feature in the Microsoft Authenticator options.

Unfortunately, such a solution is not yet available in the Google Authenticator app. However, this functionality can be achieved by installing a third-party app or using the Android built-in App Lock option.

Passwordless Logins with on-screen prompt.

Secure your Microsoft account or any other compatible account with the Passwordless Login feature. Instead of typing your password, log in using your phone by simply pressing Approve when a login request is made.

Check Microsoft Authenticator for Passwordless sign in request
Passwordless sign-in option for Microsoft Account.

Authenticate your Work or School accounts with Mircosoft Authenticator.

If your work or school uses Two-Factor Authentication, you can set up your accounts to use Microsoft Authenticator as a verification method when logging in.

Manage your passwords with the Password Management feature.

With the help of a Password Management feature available in Microsoft Authenticator, you can safely store all your login credentials.

You can also import them from various other applications, including Google Chrome, 1Password, LastPass, Firefox, or RoboForm Password Manager.

Import passwords option in the Microsoft Authenticator Password Management feature.
Import Passwords directly from Google Chrome or other application as a CSV file.

The Autofill option will automatically populate the login forms for you, so you don’t have to remember your passwords.

An Autofill option available in the Microsoft Authenticator app settings.
Autofill options in the settings menu.

An Autofill option is already built into the Edge browser, and you need to download the Microsoft Autofil extension if you like to use this option in the Google Chrome browser.

Should I switch to Microsoft Authenticator from Google Authenticator?

Again, in my opinion, the best option in the Microsoft Authenticator is the Cloud Backup and the fact that the data will automatically sync across devices.

Although Cloud Backup is not the perfect solution since you will rely on someone to protect your data, I don’t believe we have many choices.

One day, I have lost my phone with Google Authenticator on it, and it took me weeks to regain access to most of my accounts. At that time, I have switched to Authy as this was the only app that also provided Cloud Backup and automatic synchronization across devices.

The benefit of selecting Microsoft Authenticator over Authy is the Password Management feature offered by the former.

You may also like: What is a Strong Password? – free Password Strength Checker.

I like the fact that I can use one application to store my Passwords and authenticate with 2FA. However, the fruit on the cake is the Autofill option provided by the Password Management feature, which will auto-populate the credential forms for me.

If you decide to switch to Microsoft Authenticator, make sure to read my other article on how to safely delete the Google Authenticator app from your phone.

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Thomas Wzorek

I’m a Systems Applications Developer writing software in C# and .NET with interest in Cyber Security and Systems Administration. I divide my time between my family and passion for programming using .NET Technology and my favorite language, C#. If I’m not in Visual Studio, I’m probably trying to catch up with the continuously evolving Tech-World, researching Online Security & Privacy, and chasing the latest Data Breaches.