Google Authenticator, an important security tool that enables 2-step verification for your Google account, has racked up over 250,000 downloads over its lifetime, which is no small feat for any app in the Play Store. However, a few days ago, that version (previously available here) all of a sudden became obsolete and was consequently silently deleted.

Its replacement, which can be found here, bears version 2 (2.15 to be exact) and offers the following changelog:

  1. New entry for Google Play, same great app
  2. Updated look and feel
  3. "Scan barcode" and "Manually add account" options moved to Menu > Add account.

The problem, however, is this app is completely disconnected from its predecessor, which means you'll need to proactively install it and then remove the previous version. If you really want to get technical, the new app's pname (program name) is com.google.android.apps.authenticator2, while the old one was com.google.android.apps.authenticator.

If you install v2 before uninstalling v1 and then run it, you'll be prompted with a dialog to migrate the tokens and then offered to uninstall the now outdated version. That's all fine, but why was a separate app needed in the first place? The differences are minor, and the resulting confusion definitely doesn't justify creating a whole separate Play Store entry. I wasn't the only one confused about it either.

The only explanation I can offer is someone at Google messed up and misplaced the password to the signing key, which forced them to generate a new key and made updates impossible. Or the password got compromised. Either way, someone done goofed, and the fact that the new app indeed uses a different key supports this conjecture (thanks for double checking that, Justin).

This concludes the PSA. You will find the link to the new app below - remember, if you don't install it, you will not get future updates.

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