Using Google Authenticator for Twitter two-factor keys

Twitter’s latest move under Elon Musk is to start charging a fee for using text messages for two-factor authentication. To avoid those charges, here’s how to use Google Authenticator for Twitter two-factor authentication.

Twitter charges for two-factor authentication via SMS

Starting March 20, Twitter will require Twitter Blue to use two-factor authentication via SMS. The change was official announced today is definitely a big step. Twitter says it will simply turn off two-factor authentication for anyone still using SMS keys and not paying for Blue as of the March 20 cut-off date.

In a blog post, Twitter sees the change as somewhat of a form of security, saying that SMS-based authentication is being “misused” by “bad actors.”

While historically a popular form of 2FA, unfortunately we’ve seen phone number-based 2FA used — and abused — by bad actors. That’s why, starting today, we no longer allow accounts to sign up for the SMS/SMS method of 2FA unless they are Twitter Blue subscribers. SMS 2FA availability for Twitter Blue may vary by country and carrier.

However, Twitter still allows two-factor authentication using physical security keys or an authenticator app.

Using Google Authenticator with Twitter

One of the apps you can use for Twitter two-step authentication comes from Google.

Google Authenticator has been available for years and is an easy method of handing out two-factor codes for a variety of different apps and services, and linking Twitter is fairly easy too. The first step is to download Google Authenticator on your smartphone. The app is available on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for iOS. Next, go to the “Security and account access” settings of your Twitter account. You can do that on desktop use this link. From there, use the security menu and select “two-factor authentication.” Then select “authentication app” and click “Get Started” on the next popup.

From there, Twitter generates a QR code that you can scan with the Google Authenticator app. Once that QR code is scanned, your accounts will be linked and two-factor codes will appear in the Authenticator app. When you log in to Twitter, you will be prompted to enter the code that the app is currently displaying, which changes every 30 seconds.

If you currently use SMS for Twitter two-factor authentication, Google Authenticator is definitely a step up in terms of security.

In addition to Google Authenticator, you can also use apps like 1Password, Authy, and more for these codes.

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