Best authenticator app of 2024

The best authenticator apps make it simple and easy to safeguard your online security using two-factor authentication.

Best authenticator app of 2024: Quick menu

Two-factor authentication (2FA) has fast become the standard for online security protection, though it can take many forms, such as hardware tokens such as fobs, SMS, voice-based 2FA, and push notifications. Some organizations are also shifting towards biometric 2FA which uses fingerprints, voice prints, facial recognition, and more. 

Authentication apps offer yet another type of 2FA — software tokens. These are auto-generated one-time passwords (OTP) that expire within 30 seconds and usually take the form of passcodes. This time limit frame makes it nearly impossible for hackers to grab the one-time credential and use it.

We tested the best authentication apps on various platforms, with most showing up on Android and Apple devices, while still being accessible through Windows and Mac computers. The basic authenticator tool and additional features were put through their paces in a number of situations.

Below we list what we think are the best authentication apps currently available.

We've also listed the best privacy tools and anonymous browsers.


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The best authenticator apps of 2024 in full:

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Best authenticator app overall

(Image credit: 2Stable)

1. Authenticator App by 2Stable

The most impressive authenticator app

Reasons to buy

Easy to use
Biometric authentication
Sync and backup option

One of the most impressive authenticator apps on this list, the aptly named Authenticator App by 2Stable, offers a mix of great features. These include biometric authentication, a sync and backup option, and full encryption for whatever 2FA content you decide to store seamlessly on Apple's iCloud service. It's also one of the most straightforward authentication apps on the market. 

The Authenticator App by 2Stable is free for anyone who only plans on storing one or two 2FA accounts. You can keep content across the company's iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch apps and take advantage of family sharing, widgets, end-to-end encryption, etc. The freebie option doesn't include backup and synchronization, however. For an annual subscription every feature gets unlocked, including unlimited accounts and the ability to sync content across all platforms. Other features include Face ID and auto-lock. 

2Stable also offers the freemium Photo Vault app that lets you store and protect your photos and videos from outside threats. It's available in the App Store. 

Best authenticator app for security

Website screenshot for NordPass

(Image credit: NordPass)
Best authenticator for security

Reasons to buy

Great security

Nordpass Authenticator is a business feature, which is relevant for companies who want to reach a higher level of security. The software is equipped with multi-factor authentication, uses the XChaCha20 encryption algorithm, and has a zero-knowledge approach. There’s also biometric security (where it’s supported, that is).

Other features include autofill for passwords, credit cards and login details, single-click saving, and more.

NordPass has a free option that gets you an unlimited number of passwords, one user with a single sign-on session, autosave and autofill, and the ability to securely store credit cards and notes.

The premium option, priced at $2.39 per month for one year, gets you more features, including the ability to detect weak, reused passwords, scan the web for data breaches, attach files to items, and you also get an unlimited number of devices.

In addition, a family plan is available ($3.69 per month for one year), which behaves similarly to the premium plan except you get six users instead of one.

The software itself is easy to install and set up, and if you have any passwords stored in any of the major browsers or even password managers, you can easily import those to NordPass. The interface is clear and on point, where users can easily see what’s going on so even the less tech-savvy won’t have any issues figuring things out.

Best cross-platform authenticator app

(Image credit: Authy)

3. Authy

The best cross platform authentication app

Reasons to buy

Cross platform
Very price competitive
Secure cloud backup

Authy is one of the few authentication apps offered across Windows, Mac, Android, and Apple devices, including the Apple Watch. This makes it an ideal solution for anyone who uses an interesting mix of devices (Windows PC, iPhone; Mac, Android) as part of their daily lives. It's also one of the least expensive. With a free Authy account, you get 100 authentications per month and free support. You'll pay a minimal amount for additional authentications with no monthly commitment. 

Perhaps strangely, Authy requires a phone number to set up a new account, which does feel a little bit invasive. Despite this, Authy provides lots of great 2FA features, including secure cloud backup. 

Authy's app is easy to use, although it could use a design update. Compared to similar apps, it looks old by comparison. Nonetheless, it gets the job done.  For additional security, you can protect your Authy account by using Touch ID, PIN protection, and passwords. 

Best authenticator app for enterprise

(Image credit: Duo)

4. Duo

The best authenticator app for enterprises

Reasons to buy

Back up option
Supports multiple controls

The most corporate-friendly 2FA authenticator on our list, Duo Mobile is now part of Cisco. As such, it provides developers with essential features like multi-user deployment. For end-users, Duo Mobile covers all of the bases by offering easy, one-tap authentication. It also includes Duo Restore that makes it relatively pain-free to back up Duo-protected accounts, then recover them on new machines. 

Additionally, Duo Mobile supports multiple authentication controls, including push notifications, biometrics, and passcodes. 

For up to 10 accounts, Duo Mobile is free. Beyond this, there's a monthly subscription. Most individuals will probably be able to stick below the free limit, and save some monthly cash. It is worth noting that paid plans do offer more than just the ability to have more accounts.

Best authenticator app for ease

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Authenticator

The easiest and most basic authenticator app

Reasons to buy

Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

Limited features
No online backups

Many folks have a love/hate relationship with Google and if you're in the latter category, you probably want to move on to the next option on this list. For everyone else, say hello to the easiest and most basic authenticator app on the planet. 

With Google Authenticator, you can quickly add an account and use it at will. Beyond this, certain options are missing, including online backups and an Apple Watch app. For a company of Google's size, these omissions are surprising, especially since it offers users quick assess to Google Drive across many platforms. 

If you're an Android user, it's probably wise to skip past Google Authenticator and use the tools available within the operating system on your mobile device. They're much better than the app. For everyone else, Google Authenticator works and it is free. It's also kinda boring, which is something else to consider!

Best authenticator app for LastPass users

(Image credit: LastPass)

6. LastPass Authenticator

The best for LastPass users

Reasons to buy

Popular app
Works with Google

You might already be familiar with LastPass's password app, that's very popular across various platforms. LastPass Authenticator is a small extension of this, and it's free. Like similar options, LastPass Authenticator supports six-digit generated passcodes alongside SMS codes and automated push notifications. 

To activate the app's backup feature, you'll need to set up a free LastPass account. Once you do, Lastpass Authenticator works more smoothly, regardless of the device. 

If you're already a LastPass customer (with a free or paid account), it makes sense to use LastPass Authentication. It works wherever Google Authenticator is accepted. 

Best authenticator app for organizations

(Image credit: Microsoft)

7. Microsoft Authenticator

The best authenticator for organizations and schools

Reasons to buy

Free to use
Good for schools

Reasons to avoid

Android/iOS compatibility issues

It's probably a close draw on which authenticator app gets used in the wild the most, the one from Google or this one, Microsoft Authenticator. I'll take a guess and say it's the one from the Windows maker. 

Microsoft Authenticator offers 2FA through phone sign-in or code generation. Increasingly, it's become a critical verification tool for organizations and schools alike, although it's also a popular choice with individuals not necessarily tied to a group. 

The Microsoft Authenticator app is free to use across all platforms. However, I suggest not using this with iPhone and Android since the backup process is a tad wonky since the iOS version uses iCloud for backup purposes. Not surprisingly, iCloud isn't accessible to Android users. Otherwise, this is a terrific tool and one you'll see used in various places online.

Best authenticator app for Apple users

(Image credit: Step Two)

8. Step Two

The best authenticator app for Apple-only users

Reasons to buy

Beautiful design
iCloud integration

Reasons to avoid


Step Two is another authentication app that's only available on Apple devices. In this case, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Like with Duo Mobile, you can add up to 10 accounts for free. With iCloud integration, your accounts are synced across all of your devices. For a one-time purchase of $10 / £9 / AU$15 , you can use Step Two without restrictions. You can also find Step Two on Setapp.

What stands out about Step Two is its beautiful design. The creator, Neil Sardesai, has taken the time to create an authentication app that stands out and is a pleasure to use, regardless of the device. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about other authentication apps like Authy, which need a makeover. 

Best premium authenticator app

(Image credit: TOTP)

9. TOTP Authenticator

The best premium authenticator app

Reasons to buy

Chrome browser extension
Google Drive sync
Export content

Available on Android and Apple devices, TOTP Authenticator provides has similar features to the solutions above but with some extras. As part of a premium membership you can unlock a Chrome browser extension that makes using the automatically generated codes easier. 

Also, with a premium account, you get cloud sync (through Google Drive), a feature that's free with other apps. If you use a free account, you can still export content from the app to use elsewhere. 

Authenticator app FAQs

How to choose the best authenticator apps

When deciding which authenticator app to use, first consider what your actual needs are, as sometimes free and budget software may only provide basic options, so if you need to use advanced tools you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile. Additionally, higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require from your authenticator app.

How do authenticator apps work?

Without fail, one of the easiest ways to begin using 2FA is by using your smartphone's camera and scanning a QR code provided by the company or website. Once you do, the authentication app gets to work by issuing an ever-changing unique code. That code is valid as the second form of identification for just a few seconds before the authentication app refreshes it. 

You only have to scan the QR code once on a device. If you're using sync and backup (like many of the apps below), you probably won't have to scan a QR code during setup on another device. Otherwise, you will. 

The codes are generated using a standard HMAC-Based One-Time Password (HOTP) algorithm developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). However, at no time does the IETF gain access to the codes.

Is 2FA all the protection we need?

When 2FA options first arrived, many thought online vulnerability would finally end in the tech world. But, unfortunately, that isn't the case. 2FA, like every other form of online security, isn't 100% secure. Try as they might, a hacker or two will figure out a way to gain access to something they shouldn't. In January 2022, for example, was attacked. Nearly 500 accounts were compromised, and the thieves made off with more than $31 million in cryptocurrencies.

Despite its imperfections, 2FA still provides better protection than passwords alone.

How we tested the best authenticator apps

To test for the best authenticator apps we first set up an account with the relevant platform. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used for different purposes and in different situations. The aim was to push each authenticator app to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.

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Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!