Common problems with two-step verification for a business or school account (2023)

There are some common problems with 2-step verification that come up more often than we'd like. We have compiled this article to describe solutions to the most common problems.

Your Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) organization may enable two-step verification for your account. If 2-step verification is enabled, logging into your account will require a combination of the following information:

  • your username

  • Your password

  • Mobile device or phone

2-step verification is more secure than a simple password because 2-step verification requires something you know and have. No hacker has your physical phone.

Important:If you are an administrator, you can find more information about setting up and managing your Azure AD environment atAzure AD documentation.

This content can help you with your work or school account, which is an account given to you by your organization (for example, If you're having trouble with 2-step verification on a personal Microsoft account, which is an account you've set up for yourself (eg, seeTurn two-step verification on or off for your Microsoft account.

I don't have my mobile device with me

Occurs. You left your mobile device at home and now you can't use your phone to verify who you are. You may have previously added an alternative way to sign in to your account, such as using your desk phone. If yes, now you can use this alternative method. If you've never added an alternate verification method, you can contact your organization's help desk for help.

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  1. If you don't see itLog in a different waylink means you have not set any other verification method. You will need to contact your administrator for help logging into your account.

  2. Select your alternative verification method and proceed with the two-step verification process.

I can't turn off 2-step verification

  • If you use 2-step verification with a personal account for a Microsoft service like, this is possibleTurn the feature on and off.

  • If you use two-step verification for your work or school account, it most likely means that your organization has decided that you must use this additional security feature. There is no way to turn it off individually.

  • If you can't turn off 2-step verification, it could also be due to security standards implemented at the organization level. For more information on security standards, seeWhat are security goals?

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My device is lost or stolen

If your mobile device is lost or stolen, you can take one of the following actions:

  • Log in using another method.

  • Ask your organization's help desk to delete your settings.

We recommend that you notify your organization's help desk if your phone is lost or stolen. Help Desk can make the appropriate updates to your account. After your settings are deleted, the next time you sign in, you'll be asked to register for two-factor authentication.

I can't log in after several tries

Azure MFA detects unusual activity, such as repeated login attempts, and can prevent further attempts to counter security threats. If you accidentally tried to sign in too many times, wait until you try again or use a different MFA sign-in method. If you suspect that someone else is trying to access your account, contact your administrator. The error can be caused by malicious activity, misconfigured MFA settings, or other factors. The administrator can check this for further investigationAzure AD login report.

I am not receiving the verification code sent to my mobile device

Not receiving a verification code is a common problem. The problem is usually related to your mobile device and its settings. Here are some suggestions you can try.



Use a Microsoft authenticator app or verification codes

During registration, you receive the error message "You have reached our limit for verification calls" or "You have reached our limit for text verification codes".

Microsoft may limit repeated authentication attempts by the same user within a short period of time. This restriction does not apply to Microsoft Authenticator or verification code. If you've reached these limits, you can use an authenticator app or verification code, or try logging in again in a few minutes.

You get an error message "Sorry, we're having trouble verifying your account" during sign-in.

Due to a high number of failed voice or SMS authentication attempts, Microsoft may limit or block voice or SMS authentication attempts by the same user, phone number, or organization. If you encounter this error, you can try another method, such as an authenticator app or verification code, or contact your administrator for help.

Restart the mobile device

Sometimes your device just needs an update. When you restart your device, all background processes and services will be terminated. Rebooting will also turn off the core components of your device. Any services or components will be updated when you restart your device.

Make sure your security information is correct

Make sure your security verification method information is correct, especially your phone numbers. If you enter the wrong phone number, all your notifications will be sent to that wrong number. Fortunately, this user can't do anything with notifications, but logging into your account won't help either. To make sure your information is correct, please read the instructions inManage the settings of your two-factor authentication methodArticle.

Make sure your notifications are turned on

Make sure notifications are enabled on your mobile device. Make sure the following notification methods are allowed:

  • Calls

  • Your authentication application

  • Your messaging app

Check if these modes generate alerts that are visible on your device.

Make sure you have a device signal and internet connection

Make sure your phone calls and text messages are reaching your mobile device. Have your friend call and text you to make sure you get both. If you do not receive a call or text, first check that your mobile device is switched on. If your device is turned on, but you're still not receiving a call or text, there's probably a problem with your network. You need to talk to your service provider. If you often have problems with the signal, we recommend youInstall and use the Microsoft Authenticator appon your mobile device. The authentication app can generate random login security codes without the need for a mobile signal or internet connection.

Turn off Do Not Disturb

Make sure that Do Not Disturb is not enabled on your mobile device. When this feature is enabled, you may not be notified via notifications on your mobile device. See your mobile device manual for instructions on how to disable this feature.

Unblock phone numbers

In the United States, Microsoft voice calls come from the following numbers: +1 (866) 539 4191, +1 (855) 330 8653, and +1 (877) 668 6536.

Check the settings related to the battery

If you set battery optimization so that less frequently used apps don't stay active in the background, this will likely affect your notification system. Try disabling battery optimization for both the authenticator app and the messaging app. Then try logging into your account again.

Disable third-party security applications

Some phone security apps block text messages and phone calls from annoying unknown callers. A security app may be preventing your phone from receiving the verification code. Try disabling all third-party security apps on your phone and then ask for another verification code.

I am not asked for secondary confirmation information

You log into your work or school account with your username and password. You will then be asked to enter your additional information for security verification. If not prompted, you may not have set up your device yet. Your mobile device must be set to use your specific additional security verification method.

You may not have set up your device yet. Your mobile device must be set up for use with your additional security verification method. For steps to prepare your mobile device for use with your verification method, see Manage two-factor verification method settings. If you know you haven't set up your device or account yet, you can follow the steps in Set up my account for 2-step verification.

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I have a new phone number and want to add it

If you have a new phone number, you will need to update your security verification method information. This allows your verification requests to be routed to the right place. To update your confirmation method, follow the steps inAdd or change your phone numbersection ofManage the settings of your two-factor authentication methodArticle.

I have a new mobile device and want to add it

If you have a new mobile device, you must set it up for two-factor authentication. This is a multi-step solution:

  1. Set up your device to work with your account by following the steps in the article "Set up my account for 2-step verification".

  2. Update your account and device information inAdditional security check page. Perform the update by deleting the old device and adding the new one. For more information seeManage the settings of your two-factor authentication methodArticle.

Optional steps:

  1. Install the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device by following the steps inDownload and install the Microsoft Authenticator appArticle.

  2. Enable two-factor authentication for your trusted devices by following the steps inEnable two-factor authenticationQueries on a trusted devicesection ofManage the settings of your two-factor authentication methodArticle.

I'm having trouble signing in to my mobile device while traveling

If you are in an international location, it may be more difficult for you to use a mobile verification method such as B. text message. It is also possible that your mobile device will incur roaming charges. In this case, we recommend using the Microsoft Authenticator application with the option to connect to a Wi-Fi access point. For more information about setting up the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device, seeDownload and install the Microsoft Authenticator appArticle.

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I can't start app passwords

App passwords replace your normal password for older desktop apps that don't support two-factor authentication. First, make sure you entered the password correctly. If that doesn't fix the problem, try creating a new password for the app. To do this, create application passwords through the "My Applications" portal as described inManage app passwords for 2-step verification.

I did not find an answer to my problem

If you've tried these steps and are still having trouble, contact your organization's help desk for help.

Top:If you're a small business owner looking for more information about setting up Microsoft 365, visit.

recommended items

Manage your two-factor authentication method and settings

Turn 2-step verification on or off for your Microsoft account

Set up a password reset check for a work or school account

Install and use the Microsoft Authenticator app

Make sure Windows is activated

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What is the problem with two step verification? ›

Criminals can call users and pose as banks or trusted agents and ask to confirm the passcode that was sent to them, or provide links to spoofed websites through phishing attacks. They can also pose as users and contact cell phone carriers in an attempt to carry out a SIM cloning attack.

Why won t two-factor authentication work? ›

The most common cause of 2-factor authentication problems is that the time on your Google Authenticator app is not synced correctly.

Is two step verification enough? ›

2FA is essential to web security because it immediately neutralizes the risks associated with compromised passwords. If a password is hacked, guessed, or even phished, that's no longer enough to give an intruder access: without approval at the second factor, a password alone is useless.

Why is authenticator not working? ›

If your Google Authenticator app is not working, either on Android or iPhone, there may be a glitch with the time sync. Fortunately, it's easy to fix this if Google Authenticator has stopped working. Here's how. All you have to do is make sure your Google Authenticator app's time is synced correctly.

Can my account be hacked after two step verification? ›

“Just by enabling two-factor authentication, you can't relax…a smart attacker could get access to your account,” Mitnick said in an interview with CNBC. He is the chief hacking officer at KnowBe4, a cybersecurity company that trains people to spot phishing, or spoofed emails.

Can people bypass 2 step verification? ›

Tech-savvy attackers can even bypass two-factor authentication without knowing the victim's login credentials. Man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks describe the phenomenon of a third party, also known as a man-in-the-middle, intercepting the communication between two systems.

What to do if two-factor authentication failed? ›

If you have already set up two-factor authentication and cannot access the authentication code on your mobile device, you will need to ask your user manager or administrator to contact our support team to reset your account security. You will need to set up your account security with a different mobile device.

Why does it keep saying my verification code is incorrect? ›

The most common cause for "Incorrect Code" errors is that the time on your device is not synced correctly. To make sure that you have the correct time in your Google Authenticator app, follow the instructions for your operating system below. On Android: Go to the Main Menu on the Google Authenticator app.

What triggers two-factor authentication? ›

The three factors that can be used for two-factor authentication are something you know (like a password), something you have (like a bank card), and something you are (like face ID). 2FA requires two of these three factors. MFA may use all three — or even GPS tracking to confirm your physical location.

What are the weaknesses of 2FA? ›

The main SMS 2FA weakness is the dependency on the service provider. The practice of reusing mobile phone numbers is a distinctive risk. If your OTP is delivered via SMS, all the hackers need to do is get the ownership of your phone number.

What are the pros and cons of using two-factor authentication? ›

The main advantage of two-factor authentication is the increased login security. As for the shortcomings, the main two being the increase in the time of entry into the system and the risk of losing the physical media serving to pass one of the authentication steps (mobile phone, U2F key, OTP-token).

What is better than 2 step verification? ›

Multi-Factor Authentication: A Step Beyond

First: All other things being equal, MFA is always more secure than 2FA.

Why am I not getting my 2 step verification code? ›

I'm not receiving a verification code

Check that your phone software is up to date. Disable any apps filtering or interfering with incoming SMS messages. Restart your phone and try resending the 2SV code. Verify that your device has notifications turned on.

What is an authenticator error? ›

If you are trying to register your Google Authenticator app and receive an error message when you click on 'Verify and save', it may be because: The token has expired: Wait until the new token generates (switches from red to blue) and try again. The time on your Google Authenticator app is not synced correctly.

What is the safest 2 step verification? ›

Using a U2F key is the least convenient but most secure way to do two-factor authentication.

Which is more secure account key or two step verification? ›

Security keys are a more secure second step. If you have other second steps set up, use your security key to sign in whenever possible. If a security key doesn't work on your device or browser, you might see an option to sign in with a code or prompt instead.

How will I know if my account has been hacked? ›

You get signed out of your online accounts (social media, email, online banking, etc.), or you try to log in and discover your passwords don't work anymore. You receive emails or text messages about login attempts, password resets, or two-factor authentication (2FA) codes that you didn't request.

How do hackers defeat 2 factor authentication? ›

Bypassing 2FA with Session Cookie or Man-in-the-middle

The session cookie stays in the browser until the user logs out, and closing the window doesn't log the user out. So, an attacker can use the cookie to his advantage. Once the hacker acquires the session cookie, he can bypass the two-factor authentication.

Why do I have to do 2 step verification every time? ›

You should set up 2-step verification because doing so makes it very hard for anyone to take over your email account remotely. Without setting up 2-step verification, hackers could get into your account if they figured out your password.

Can you reset two-factor authentication? ›

You can reset two-factor authentication yourself using the email address and mobile phone number you used to create your account.

Why does it keep saying invalid two factor code? ›

One of the possible reasons your 2FA code shows up as invalid could be due to the clock settings on your mobile device being set to a different time zone than the one on your computer. To correct this, make sure the default time on both devices is on the automatic settings.

How do you resolve this number Cannot be used for verification? ›

If you're getting a “Google phone number cannot be used for verification” error message, you can get a temporary number online. Learn more from the experts. Creating a new account on popular platforms like Facebook, Google, or Instagram generally means the system will require you to provide a phone number.

What does unable to verify mean? ›

Unable-to-verify rate is the percentage of verifications a background check company is unable to complete. This situation can occur because the employer went out of business, the candidate does not have adequate documentation or there is no third-party record of the information.

What are common authentication factors? ›

The five main authentication factor categories are knowledge factors, possession factors, inherence factors, location factors, and behavior factors.

What are three examples of two-factor authentication? ›

Something you know, like a password or PIN. Something you have, like your ATM card, or your phone. Something you are, like a fingerprint or voice print.

How do you enforce two-factor authentication? ›

If you're not using two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, you can turn it on right on your device or on the web: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Go to Settings > your name > Password & Security. Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication. Then tap Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

What are the main flaws that can lead to broken authentication? ›

The following points list the scenarios that can cause broken authentication.
  • Weak usernames and passwords.
  • Session fixation attacks.
  • URL rewriting.
  • Consumer identity details aren't protected when stored.
  • Consumer identity details are transferred over unencrypted connections.

Which of the following is not a good example of two-factor authentication? ›

Something you are

Note that the use of a password in combination with a PIN, for example, is NOT considered two-factor authentication because both pieces of information involve a single factor - something you know.

Which of the following is the weakest method of authentication? ›

Explanation. The correct answer is passwords. Passwords are considered the weakest form of protection with Type 1 authentication, passwords are poor security mechanisms for several reasons i.e., commonly written or guessed.

What are 2 step verification methods? ›

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA/2FA) Methods
  1. Push Notification.
  2. U2F/WebAuthn Security Key.
  3. Email Link.
  4. Hardware OTP Token.
  5. Software OTP Token.
  6. SMS Passcode.
  7. QR Code.
  8. Biometrics (Fingerprinting, Face Recognition, and more)
Jul 29, 2021

Is two-factor authentication good or bad? ›

Using two-factor authentication is like using two locks on your door — and is much more secure. Even if a hacker knows your username and password, they can't log in to your account without the second credential or authentication factor.

Can I refuse Google two step verification? ›

Turn off 2-Step Verification
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open your device's Settings app Google. Manage your Google Account.
  2. At the top, tap Security.
  3. Under "Signing in to Google," tap 2-Step Verification. You might need to sign in.
  4. Tap Turn off.
  5. Confirm by tapping Turn off.

Why does Google keep asking for 2-step verification? ›

Without setting up 2-step verification, hackers could get into your account if they figured out your password. With 2-step verification enabled, they would need the password and physical control of your phone, your wallet or purse, or your actual computer.

What are the disadvantages of two step authentication? ›

These include:
  • Increased login time – Users must go through an extra step to login into an application, adding time to the login process.
  • Integration – 2FA usually depends on services or hardware provided by third parties, e.g., a mobile service provider issuing verification codes via text message.

What is the strongest form of two-factor authentication? ›

FIDO U2F is the most secure form of 2FA that prevents against password cracking, man-in-the-middle, and phishing attacks. Learn more about FIDO U2F here. There are many forms of 2FA, some of which are stronger than others.

How many numbers do you need for Google 2-step verification? ›

You must always have at least one phone number available, mobile or land line, to receive a one-time security verification code, and you can add a total of five phone numbers.

Can I use Google 2-step verification without a phone? ›

If you've lost access to your primary phone, you can verify it's you with:
  • Another phone signed in to your Google Account.
  • Another phone number you've added in the 2-Step Verification section of your Google Account.
  • A backup code you previously saved.

How do I enforce Google 2-step verification? ›

Allow 2-Step Verification
  1. Open your Google Account.
  2. In the navigation panel, select Security.
  3. Under “Signing in to Google,” select 2-Step Verification. Get started.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps.


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