Operating systems: Android, iOS
Many people looking for an alternative to Google Authenticator turn to Microsoft Authenticator based solely on the reputation of the developer. They’re partly justified: The Microsoft app includes a few useful additions to the basic set of features. For example, it can hide codes on the screen and store tokens in the cloud, and both the iOS and Android versions protect app logins. Microsoft Authenticator also comes in handy if you work with Microsoft accounts regularly, in which case you do not need to enter a code, just tap the button in the app to confirm login.
However, this app also has drawbacks. First, the Android and iOS apps use completely incompatible cloud backup systems, and you can’t transfer tokens any other way. For users of devices with different operating systems, that would be a deal-breaker. Second, Microsoft Authenticator needs about 10 times the storage space of Google Authenticator, 150MB–200MB compared with 15MB–20MB.
- PIN-, fingerprint-, or Face ID–protected access,
- Cloud backup/sync,
- Hides codes,
- No account required (as long as you keep cloud backup disabled),
- Greatly simplified Microsoft account login,
- Support for Apple Watch (iOS version).
- Microsoft account login necessary for backup/sync (Android version only),
- Incompatibility between iOS and Android backup/sync systems,
- Inability to export or import tokens,
- Large (requires 150MB–200MB).
Microsoft Authenticator greatly simplifies login to Microsoft accounts, but it is hard to excuse its enormous size — and that iOS and Android cloud backups are incompatible.
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