Back Up and Recover Account Credentials Using the Microsoft Authenticator App

This article applies to:

  • iOS devices, running version 5.7.0 and later
  • Android devices, running version 6.6.0 and later

The Microsoft Authenticator app backs up your account credentials and related app settings to the cloud. After backup, you can also use the app to recover your information on a new device, potentially avoiding getting locked out or having to recreate accounts.

For each backup storage location you need to have one personal Microsoft account. iOS also requires you to have an iCloud account. You can have multiple accounts stored in that single location. For example, you can have a personal account, a work or school account, and a personal, non-Microsoft account like for Facebook, Google, and so on.

Back Up Your Account Credentials

Before you can back up your credentials, you must have:

  • A personal Microsoft account to act as your recovery account.
  • For iOS only, you must have an iCloud account for the actual storage location.

To Turn on Cloud Backup for iOS Devices

On your iOS device, select Settings (Top left Three lines), select Backup, and then turn on iCloud backup. (If you are doing this for the first time you will be prompted for your personal Microsoft account and iCloud account. Enter your username and Password for both)

Your account credentials are backed up to your iCloud account.

To Turn on Cloud Backup for Android Devices

On your Android device, select Settings (Top right Three dots), select Backup, and then turn on Cloud backup. If you are doing this for the first time you will be prompted for your Personal Microsoft account. Enter your username and Password

Your account credentials are backed up to your personal Microsoft cloud account.

Recover Your Account Credentials on Your New Device

You can recover your account credentials from your cloud account, but you must first make sure that the account you're recovering doesn't exist in the Microsoft Authenticator app. For example, if you're recovering your personal Microsoft account, you must make sure you don't have a personal Microsoft account already set up in the authenticator app. This check is important so we can be sure we're not overwriting or erasing an existing account by mistake.

To Recover Your Information

  1. On your mobile device, open the Microsoft Authenticator app. Select Begin Recovery.
  2. Sign in to your recovery account, using the same personal Microsoft account you used during the backup process.

    Your account credentials are recovered to the new device.

You might notice after the recovery that your personal Microsoft account verification codes in the Microsoft Authenticator app are different between your old and new phones. This is because each device has its own unique credential, but both are valid and work while signing in using the associated phone.

Recover Accounts Requiring More Verification

If you use push notifications with your personal or work or school accounts, you'll get an on-screen alert that says you must provide additional verification before you can recover your information. Because push notifications require using a credential that's tied to your specific device and never sent over the network, you must prove your identity before the credential is created on your device.

For personal Microsoft accounts, you can prove your identity by entering your password along with an alternate email or phone number. For work or school accounts, you must scan a QR code given to you by your account provider.

To Provide More Verification for Personal Accounts

  1. Tap on the account you want to recover in the Accounts screen of the Microsoft Authenticator app. This will open a full screen view of the account.

  2. Tap the tile for the account you're recovering and then tap the option to sign in to recover. Enter your password and then confirm your email address or phone number as additional verification.

To Provide More Verification for Work or School Accounts

  1. Tap the account you want to recover in the Accounts screen of the Microsoft Authenticator app. This will open a full screen view of the account.

  2. In the full screen view, tap the option to scan a QR code to fully recover.


For more information see: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/user-help/user-help-auth-app-backup-recovery

Was this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback!
User Icon

Thank you! Your comment has been submitted for approval.