Setting up and using 2-factor authentication on a Google account used to be a fairly miserable affair. The sign-in process lurched from a native interface into a browser where users were expected to quickly enter codes, various apps weren't compatible and required special 1-time use passwords, and the app for generating codes felt completely unfinished. These days, all of those problems have been solved, and now Google's Authenticator app is even taking steps to further improve its look and usefulness. The latest update brings a great looking refresh to the UI, adds a dark mode, and finally adds its own built-in scanner functionality.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • Updated look
  • Dark mode
  • In-app scanner
  • Code generators can be reordered

Updated Look

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

It has been nearly a year since Authenticator donned a fresh coat made of Material Design. The refresh wasn't perfect, but it certainly looked better than the Holo and Gingerbread designs that plagued it for so many years. The latest update picks up where the last stopped, bringing the app fully into the modern Material landscape. Most screens have gone through fairly similar changes, particularly favoring the top-to-bottom blue background.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

The code generator is one of the few screens that remained with its previous layout, but it still managed to make a few very pleasing changes. The color of the numbers has been changed and the ticking circle no longer shows an outline. More importantly, generated codes now have a small gap in the middle to make them a bit easier to parse visually.

Probably the best part is the addition of a FAB (floating action button) for adding new accounts / code generators to the list. Previous versions required users to tap on the overflow menu and tap again to begin adding an account, and even after that, another step was required to choose between manual entry and scanning a QR code. The FAB cuts out the middle step entirely and simply raises up a pair of options from the bottom of the screen instead of changing views entirely.

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There's also a new welcome screen to greet users and explain what Authenticator is for and how to use it.

Dark Mode

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For those that find the bright white interface a bit blinding, there's also a dark mode that can eliminate those cornea-searing lumens. Most of the small elements remain the same, but the backgrounds and a few other elements are pushed into the deep grays. Just hit the overflow menu and tap on Dark mode to make the switch.

In-app scanner

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Users have complained for years that Google apps should use a built-in scanner to read QR codes. But instead, the Barcode Scanner app by ZXing Team has been repeatedly recommended, despite its dated look and interface. It was believed that this would finally be resolved when the Barcode API was added with Google Play Services v7.8. More than a year later, it looks like that has finally happened. Choosing to add 2FA generators using a QR code will now open immediately to the screen above with the camera activated (or requesting camera access) instead of switching to another app. It's faster and requires one less app to be installed.

Also added reordering of code generators

Reordering code generators

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As a few people have pointed out, it's also now possible to change the order of the code generators. Simply long-press on one of the generators until it is selected, then use the handle on the left side to drag it to any spot on the list. – Thanks to everybody that sent this in.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Version: 4.74

Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator
Developer: Google Inc.
Price: Free
  • Thanks:
  • Unappreciated tipper (that's the name we were given)