If you’re conscious about your online security, two-factor authentication (2FA) should be on your radar. For the unaware, it’s a better way to validate your identity when you log in to a website than just a single password. It will provide a one-time code that you’ll enter into a dedicated field which authenticates your other credentials. In this post, we look at some 2FA apps that sync across devices, to let you log in wherever you are.
Why You Should Use Multi-Device 2FA Apps
The main reason why you should use a 2FA app to sync codes is flexibility. For example, you may use multiple devices across a number of different locations. This is relevant if you work remotely or otherwise away from the office.
What’s more, if you use the same 2FA app on a smartphone, tablet, and even desktop, you don’t have to worry about carrying a specific device with you. Regardless of your current location, if you have any of your devices, you’ll be able to log in with safety – a boon if you’re security conscious.
If you aren’t yet on the 2FA train, it’s a fantastic way to protect your personal data. With syncing, 2FA is even more valuable to almost every user.
Top 2FA Apps with Multi-Device Sync
To get you started, what follows are some of the top 2FA apps that offer syncing across devices. We detail the exact nature of the sync on a per-app basis. Though, you’ll be able to use each one no matter where you are.
Note that we are not covering 2FA apps that don’t sync. That’s why you won’t see apps such as Google Authenticator on this list. Instead, you have three apps that will help keep you safe on your multiple devices.
The first 2FA app is popular, regardless of whether you wish to employ cross-device sync. The first impressions of Authy is that it’s a slick and gorgeous User Interface (UI). It wins top marks compared to almost every other app available.
It’s a visual interface that uses company logos and color schemes to help you spot your different accounts. The One-Time Password (OTP) screens are also nice to use and provide standard features such as one-click copy to clipboard.
We like that you can use Authy offline and that you can sync to many devices.
Regardless of whether you own a phone, tablet, watch, or desktop machine, there’s an Authy app for it. Though, while there used to be an extension for Chrome, this no longer exists. It’s a small fly in the ointment of an otherwise fantastic app.
It uses Apple’s iCloud Keychain to sync data between various instances of the app. As such, your thoughts about Obsidian’s performance will depend on how you feel about Apple’s cloud-based service.
In our testing, Obsidian is a fantastic performer, regardless of the device you’ll use it on. Given that it uses Apple cloud storage, Windows devices aren’t supported. Still, for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS users, Obsidian is a front runner.
We also like that it’s a privacy-aware app. It collects no data and keeps its processes within the iCloud Keychain ecosystem. As such, your data is safe and sound while using Obsidian.
3. Zoho OneAuth
Zoho is known for a lot more than 2FA apps but manages to provide a functional and valuable app for Google and Apple devices.
OneAuth will be a fantastic choice for Zoho customers who enjoy being within the ecosystem. Though, if you have non-Zoho accounts, OneAuth will also help you protect these, too. As such, you have a full-featured 2FA app here, with a few tricks up its sleeve.
For example, you can use “passwordless” technology to open your Zoho apps, which is almost a bleeding-edge feature. Also, you can protect multiple Zoho accounts from the one app – stellar for those with many logins across numerous accounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I use password managers with built-in 2FA apps?
While you should definitely use a password manager such as 1Password or Bitwarden, we wouldn’t advise you to couple this with the built in 2FA functionality. If you lose access to your passwords (either through innocent or malicious actions), there’s still going to be no way to log in to your various accounts.
Instead, store your passwords in one app and work with 2FA in another. This will give you the safest path for protecting your data.
2. Are there any security concerns when using 2FA apps that sync to iCloud, OneDrive, or Google Cloud?
In our opinion, no. We’re happy to recommend the likes of Obsidian and consider an app like this to be just as safe as others.
Still, you will want to take some of the same precautions as with other cloud-based storage solutions. For example, backing up your 2FA codes will give you an extra layer of security.
In short, treat everything in the cloud in a similar way, including your 2FA codes.
3. Is it best to use 2FA apps that sync between mobile devices or those with a desktop app?
This depends on your goals. In some cases, you’ll only need to use one mobile device, in which case you have many more options at your disposal. Though, if you have a work device and a personal device, yet need to access the same accounts through both, your chosen app will need to sync between them.
A desktop app isn’t necessary for many cases, and Obsidian is almost the only app that provides one. Though, it does save you some time if you work from a desktop and don’t like to have your phone with you at the time.
To protect your personal data, 2FA is a great technology to implement. What’s more, there are many apps available for almost every device. To take things further, consider 2FA apps that sync between devices. This means you could (for example) leave your phone at home and log into accounts using your smartwatch or tablet. It gives you flexibility and frees you from being tied to a single device.
If you want to take a peek into how malicious users try to bypass 2FA, read this in-depth article. Do you use 2FA apps, and if so, do you use one that syncs cross-device? Let us know in the comments section below!