Using Code Generator Apps for Two-Factor Authentication in Facebook

We have recently written about how you can enable and use the two factor authentication in your Facebook account to give it an extra layer of security. Facebook calls the two step authentication with a special name – “Login Approvals”. After you have enabled the login approvals feature in your Facebook account, you will have to enter a six digit code received on your registered mobile phone before you can successfully login from a new device or browser. But what if your cellular network provider is having a network problem, you are in a place where there is no cellular signal, or you have lost your mobile phone? In those cases, you won’t be able to login to your Facebook account because you are not able to receive the two-factor login code. This is why it is better to use the code generator apps instead of the codes received on the mobile phones.

A code generator app is a special app running on your smartphone that generates a six digit code without requiring any network connection. Of course, you have to setup the app to generate the codes for your facebook account before it can generate the codes. The codes generated by such apps are time based and work only for a few seconds. There are many of such apps besides Facebook’s own app – Sophos Authenticator (from the makers of the Sophos Antivirus), Google Authenticator, FreeOTP (developed by the Red Hat Linux team), Authy etc. These are all trustworthy apps from well known firms. You should never use any code generator app from any unauthorized sources. You can use any of the above mentioned apps to generate codes for Facebook Login Approvals (though in my experience FreeOTP works the best). Here is how:

Note: You must have enabled Login Approvals in your Facebook account before proceeding (learn how to enable login approvals in Facebook account).

  1. Visit the Facebook website in a web browser on your computer, login to your Facebook account and then open the security settings section (https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security).
  2. Under the Code Generator section, click Enable to setup the Facebook app on your Android or iOS devices. You can also use third party apps like FreeOTP by clicking on Set up link.Facebook Code Generators
  3. It will show you a QR code, that you have to scan in the code generator app on your smartphone. It also shows the secret key for manually setting up the app in case QR code scanning does not work.Facebook Code Generators
  4. For example, we are going to use the Sophos Authenticator app to scan the QR code. After successful scanning, the Facebook account and its secret key is automatically added in the Sophos Authenticator app. Now it keeps generating a new login security code every 10 seconds.Facebook Code Generators
  5. You have to type this security code back into the screen on your computer where the QR code is displayed. You have to be very quick because the code changes in every 10 seconds. If the code changes in Sophos Authenticator (or any other code generator app), you will have to use the new code.
  6. It will show “It Worked” on successful entering of the correct code. Now you can click the Confirm button to finish the code generator setup. From now on whenever you try to login from a new device or browser, you will have to enter the code generated on the code generator app in your smartphone to login to Facebook.

Conclusion: Using code generator apps for signing in to Facebook using the two factor authentication is much easier and works even in the absence of network signal. You can generate the codes right on your smartphone without waiting for the SMS message to arrive. But at the same time, you should be careful not to uninstall the code generator app or you will find it difficult to sign in to your Facebook account.