Hopefully you've all done the initial setup of 2 Step Verification (where you get a text message on login), but if you haven't go here and do that first, this email is on how to make it easier for yourself in future, not how to set it up initially.


Backup Codes (Preparing for that day without your phone):

There will inevitably be a day (one of those "once every 30 days" situations) where you don't have your phone on you, you've got a new phone recently and forgot to set it up again, it's been stolen, you've got a new number, or any number of other possibilities. Here's how to prepare for that eventuality!

First, log into Google's Account Security Page, then click "2 Step Verification", then "Generate Backup Codes"

You'll be given 10 codes, which you can then print or save as a text file. I keep mine in my wallet, ready for that day I don't have my phone!

These codes can each be used once in place of the text message/authenticator codes. (You can generate 10 new ones whenever you like, but doing so invalidates the last 10 you've generated)

Google Authenticator App (For Android or iOS phones):

Sometimes you might have your phone, but no data or service (like when you're overseas, or in "Airplane Mode"). In these instances it's useful to have an app on your phone that can still give you an authentication code, as you might not be able to get a text message!

Initial Setup:

On your computer, log into Google's Account Security and click "2 Step Verification" then "Authenticator App" (Yours won't look exactly like the picture below as I've already set mine up)

After clicking setup, you'll be shown a QR code (like a square bar-code). Now it's time to do your phone's part!

Get the App:

The process for getting this app is the same as getting any other app on your phone, so open the Play Store if you're on Android, or the App Store on an iPhone.

Once downloaded and installed, open the app, which will look like this:

Tap on Begin Setup, then choose "Scan a barcode". You might be asked to allow camera access, choose "yes".

Finally, point your phone's camera at the computer screen, it should register the app and "test" the process. Your app should look at bit like this:

Now any time Google asks for a code, you won't get a text message. Instead you need to open this app and type in the code currently displayed! There is a way to make this EVEN EASIER though, which I'll cover next:

Google Prompt (again for Android or iOS phones):

Typing a code each and every time you need to log in to a new device, or every 30 days isn't a HUGE pain, but there's a way you can avoid typing anything! Google Prompt just shows a notification asking you if you've just tried to log in on another device, and saying yes allows the login. You'll need to have the Google Authenticator part set up already for this to work (see above).

Initial Setup:

On your computer, log into Google's Account Security and click "2 Step Verification" then "Google Prompt".

You'll be asked which phone you want to turn it on with. Most people will just be able to select their own phone, it'll test the notification, and you'll be done!

My Phone isn't Compatible!

This doesn't usually mean your phone isn't capable, just that you've not connected your phone to your school email account. 

On iPhone, you've got to get the "Google Search" or "Gmail" app and log into it, allowing notifications (You don't need to turn on "Google Now"). Once done, refresh the account security page on your computer, and try to turn Google Prompt on again :-)

On an Android phone, go into Settings->Accounts->Add Account and add your school Google account. In that same settings screen you can turn off all sync settings, meaning you won't get email notifications or have the school calendar mixed with your own.

Once done, refresh the account security page on your computer, and try to turn Google Prompt on again.

App Passwords (What if my app doesn't support 2 Step Verification?):

Some email clients or calendar applications don't support 2 Step Verification yet (*cough* Apple Mail *cough*). While I'd recommend switching to either browser based email access (it's always up to date!), I can understand wanting to keep using these apps how you're used to. To do that, you'll need to generate an App Password, which then allows that application access indefinitely. (Yes, while it IS possible to do this with your browser, I'd advise against it)

First, log into Google's Account Security Page, then click "App Passwords".

It's not actually important to choose the right app or device name, you can actually choose to enter whatever you'd like! The reason it asks for one is in case you then lose that device, you can revoke it's access remotely having given it a recogniseable name. Once entered, you'll be shown this (or similar depending on which device you've chosen):

If you've chosen a device that Google has instructions for, you'll be given a code and instructions on how to set it up. If you've chosen a generic device (or if you know how to set up a google account on your device normally) you just have to type the 16 character code, without spaces, in place of your normal password, and choose for your device to remember it.