How To Turn On or Off 2FA for Gmail
Today, the prospect of losing access to your Gmail account sounds far more devastating than even losing your wallet. Fortunately, numerous security features are at our disposal to protect our digital assets.
Turning on 2FA for your Google account will help protect it from uninvited guests. Here’s how to toggle this setting so you’ll always be the only one who can access your Gmail.
Two-step verification, or two-factor authentication (2FA), is an extra security layer you can add to your accounts. Once enabled, the login process will involve two steps (or two factors). The first step involves something you know (your login info), while the second step requires you to verify your identity using something you have (your phone). You’ll be the only one who can access your account since you’re the only one possessing both of these factors.
Although highly recommended, 2FA is not mandatory in Gmail. You can enable or disable it by following the instructions below.
How to Turn 2FA On or Off in Gmail on a PC
To turn 2FA on or off for your Gmail, you’ll need to tweak the settings of your Google Account. You can access these settings by heading straight to your Google Account or from Gmail in the following way:
- Open Gmail in your browser.
- Click your profile picture or initials in the top right corner.
- Click the “Manage Your Google Account” button under your profile information, and you’ll be redirected to a new tab.
Once you’re on your Account page, follow these steps:
- Find the “Security” tab in the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to the “Signing in to Google” section.
- Click “2-Step Verification.”
- If you’ve yet to set up 2FA, find the “Get Started” button.
- Enter your password to proceed.
- Google will suggest Google Prompts as your default 2FA method and display your devices on a list. Press “Show more options” to change the 2FA method.
- Press “Continue” and complete the prompt.
- Back up your account with another phone number or hit “Use another backup option” to receive a set of backup codes.
- Click “Next,” and then “Turn On” to finish the process.
If 2FA is already enabled, you can turn it off altogether in the following way:
- Hit the blue “Turn Off” button at the top of the 2-Step Verification page.
- Confirm your choice in the popup.
How to Turn 2FA On or Off in Gmail on an iPhone
You can also tweak your Google settings using your mobile device. Follow the instructions below to enable or disable 2FA in Gmail on your iPhone.
- Launch the Gmail app.
- Press your profile picture or initials in the top right corner.
- Select “Manage your Google Account” in the popup to go to your account settings.
- Find the “Security” tab at the top.
- Two-step verification will be under “Signing in to Google.” Press it.
- Tap “Get Started” to enable 2FA and follow the instructions above to set it up.
- To disable 2FA, hit the blue “Turn Off” button on the Two-Step Verification page.
How to Turn 2FA On or Off in Gmail on an Android Device
You’ll need to access your Google account to tweak your 2FA settings. You can find your account settings on an Android device in several ways:
- Open your Settings app, search for Google, and select “Manage Your Account.”
- Launch Gmail, hit your profile icon, and tap the “Manage Your Account” button.
In your Google account settings, find 2FA by following these steps:
- Switch to the “Security” tab at the top.
- Scroll down to the “Signing in to Google” section.
- Tap “2-Step Verification.”
- If you don’t yet have 2FA enabled, press “Get Started” and follow the steps mentioned above for setting up two-step verification.
- To turn off 2FA, simply hit “Turn Off” and confirm your decision.
How to Turn 2FA On or Off in Gmail on an iPad
You can change your 2FA settings for Gmail by accessing your Google account. Follow these steps on your iPad to turn on 2FA:
- Open the Gmail app.
- Press your profile picture, then “Manage your Google Account.”
- Switch to the “Security” tab at the very top of the page.
- Scroll down until you find “2-Step Verification” under “Signing in to Google.”
- Tap “Get Started” at the bottom of the page and follow the above-mentioned instructions.
You can also disable 2FA on this page using the “Turn Off” button.
Types of 2FA Available on Gmail
When setting up 2FA for your Gmail, you’ll find that you have several options. While SMS codes are perhaps the most well-known example of this security feature, there are many other ways to verify your identity. The following types of 2FA are available on Gmail:
- Google prompts: This is Google’s default two-step authentication method. You’ll receive a push notification on the devices you’re already signed in on whenever someone attempts to log in from a new device. You can allow or block the attempt with a tap.
- Verification codes through voice or text message: You can provide Google with your phone number to receive a one-time code each time you want to sign in to your account.
- Authenticator apps: Apps like Google Authenticator generate unique verification codes, much like SMS codes. However, authenticator apps are more secure.
- Security key: A security key is a device that authenticates your identity when plugged in. There are also phones with built-in security keys.
- One-time backup codes: The second factor in 2FA is usually your mobile phone. But what if you lose your phone? In that case, having these backup codes at hand will help you regain access to your account.
Why can’t I enable 2FA for my Gmail account?
If your Google account is connected to your school or workplace, you might not have the authority to add 2FA to your Gmail. In that case, you’ll need to contact the administrator of the account to make changes to it. This could be an institution’s IT department, your email or website manager, or someone similar.
Can I turn 2FA off for select devices?
2FA is an important security feature, but it may not be necessary in all cases. If you want to skip the authentication process on your personal computer, you can add it to your trusted devices. To add a trusted device, click “Don’t ask again on this computer” after the first time you enter your 2FA code.
You can also revoke this permission in the following way:
1. Go to your Google account settings and select “Security.”
2. Pick “2-Step Verification.”
3. Scroll all the way down to “Devices that don’t need a second step.”
4. Click “Revoke all” under “Devices you trust.”
Why can’t I sign in using my Google Authenticator app?
Google Authenticator codes are time-sensitive. If your codes don’t seem to be working, there might be a time syncing issue. Correct this error in the following way:
2. Tap the three-dot menu and select “Settings.”
3. Press “Time correction for codes” and then hit “Sync now.”
Your codes should work after syncing the time this way.
Better Luck Next Time, Hackers
It’s highly recommended that you enable 2FA to keep your Gmail and Google Accounts safe. Choose any method you find convenient and eliminate the possibility that an unauthorized person will hijack your account. If you find 2FA a hassle on trusted devices, you can also create an exception for them.
How do you keep your Gmail account safe? Which of the 2FA methods described above is your go-to? Let us know in the comments section below.