Understanding Gmail’s 2 Step Verification and How to Set it Up For Gmail/Google Accounts

Saikat Basu

Gmail (and as a result all your Google accounts) is going the way of Fort Knox. Okay, that’s a hyperbole, but the latest 2-step verification process is a step closer to peace of mind and better security. Stronger security is always welcome because Gmail for most of us is the centerpiece of our online existence. Add to that the allied Google accounts and you realize the need for an ironclad security system.

How Does the 2-step Verification System Work?

The 2-step verification introduces a second layer of protection by using a one-time verification code that is sent to you via a text message or a voice message to your mobile device. Google will ask for this code if it senses that you have logged in from a new browser or a new device, other than your default ones. You have to key in this code after the password to authenticate your Google account. Sending an authentication code to your mobile makes it almost impossible for hackers to break into your account. Of course, you must have a mobile that supports SMS or voice messages from Google.

Here’s a more detailed walkthrough which explains how to set it up for Gmail and Google accounts:

Sign-in to your Google account and go to the 2-step verification page. You can use the direct link or reach it via your Google account settings.

Click on the large blue Setup button and the guide walks you through the steps needed to setup the authentication layer. Basically it involves giving Google your mobile number and choosing the mode of code delivery (text or voice).

You don’t want to enter a code again and again for checking your email, so setup Google to remember your trusted devices for at least 30 days.

In the final step, activate 2-step verification for your Google account. Now, if you sign-in from an unrecognized device or computer, you will be asked for the code.

Here’s how the verification code prompt looks when you try to log-in:

Google also prompts you to create some application specific passwords. It’s for those apps you use to access your Google accounts from mobile devices and third-party email clients like MS Outlook.

You can also add a trusted secondary mobile number to receive the verification codes, in case you lose your main phone or keep it somewhere else. Google also gives you backup codes to access your email accounts on the go when you might not have cell coverage. These permanent codes do not expire and you can use them during such emergencies.

Read more on Google’s 2-step verification process here.

What do you think of Google’s 2-step verification process? Do you think it fortifies you against hackers or do you think it’s all an unnecessary hassle?

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