Identity verification apps: FAQ

What is an identity verification app?

Sometimes Microsoft needs to verify your identity to help make sure that you—and only you—have access to your account. The easiest way for you to verify your identity is with an app on your mobile device. Identity verification apps are:

  • Free. Apps don't require text or email to verify your identity, so you won't incur any usage charges on your phone service. (You can still choose to get a security code via text or email if you don't have the app handy.)
  • Instant. Open the app at any time to verify your identity.
  • Always there. If you're on the move, identity verification apps can generate security codes even when you can't get phone service.

How do these apps verify my identity?

Identity verification apps work differently depending on the platform your mobile device uses. You can verify your identity with an app in one of two ways:

  • Enter a security code. Some identity verification apps generate random security codes every thirty seconds. When you need to verify your identity, get the latest code from the app and enter that on the verification site. These codes work even when your mobile device is offline, so you don't need to worry about having service to receive an email or SMS message.
  • Approve a notification. With this kind of app, you no longer need to enter security codes. Instead, you'll receive a notification on your device when you need to verify your identity. Open the notification, approve it, and you're done.

Which app should I use for my mobile device?


The Microsoft Authenticator app is available for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. If you have a different mobile operating system, there are other options available. Search for "authenticator" in your app store and choose from the list of available apps.




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Article ID: 12414 - Last Review: Aug 19, 2016 - Revision: 23

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