Microsoft Authenticator - mobile always required?

  1. Posts : 871
    Windows 10 x64

    Microsoft Authenticator - mobile always required?

    Up front: I don't use Microsoft Authenticator. Instead I have been using a password manager for almost 20 years now.
    In the past I occasionally I checked out Authentictor, but always felt it is / was more complicated then my password manager.
    Passwords are protected by a master password, which they say is impossible to crack.

    The master password works convenient, no mobile phone required, no 2FA, one can log in into websites on a different location, let's say you are waiting somewhere, even if the phone is at home.

    Now, AFAIK, Microsoft Authenticator always (...) requires the use of a cell phone(?)
    OTOH I read "You’ll use a fingerprint, face recognition, or a PIN for security."

    The word 'PIN' shows up just once on that page, instead it describes the setup using QR and a mobile device.

    I have 2 questions:
    1. is it possible to make use of Authenticator using a PIN code instead of a mobile device, both on Android and WIndows 10 desktop?
    2. if so, then I can stop using my password manager, after transferring passwords from the password manager into Authenticator. Does Authenticator offer some sort of import of passwords?

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 1,252
    Windows 10

    i don't think so its in the name "Authenticator" which is usually going to imply a 2 step process involving an external device in this case a phone. Meaning yes you need it on your phone.

    There used to be Authenticator devices in the recent past you can still get them but most of it has switched to phone in the last 10 years or so.

    it is also saying here that to download it for ios or Android.

    After reading it looks to be an auto 2fa authentication for phone, meaning any accounts you hold that require 2fa action can just go straight to that Microsoft authenticator and it will log them in seamlessly without input, you would have to install it on your phone.

    i don't use this so you would have to use it and see . I am sure it will hold your passwords like a manager its just that it will log you in automatically when ever you want to use something with 2fa that is the whole point so that you don't have to retype the pin code.
    Last edited by Malneb; 26 Apr 2023 at 03:32.
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  3. Posts : 871
    Windows 10 x64
    Thread Starter

    THANK you very much indeed.

    I checked out the link you provided. BTW it is like most Microsoft matters: one ends spending (too) much time reading in many pages of documentation and (often) new terms.

    My Microsoft account, security section: it is set to:
    Passwordless account: OFF
    Two-step verification: OFF
    Wonder whether Authenticator, when used with Windows (laptop, Surface Pro, desktop) still requires a phone for verification.

    Anyway, I need to read a lot...

    Thanks again.
      My Computer

  4. NMI
    Posts : 1,092
    Windows 11 Pro, Version 22H2

    tfwul said:
    Wonder whether Authenticator, when used with Windows (laptop, Surface Pro, desktop) still requires a phone for verification.
    That was already answered. Twice:

    Malneb said:
    ... Meaning yes you need it on your phone.
    you would have to install it on your phone.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 2,209
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit v23H2

    Two factor Authentication (2FA) requires an alternate way to verify your login. Some ways to do that is an email account, a phone text message, or a phone authentication app. Both email and text messages include a numeric PIN that is typed in when a login requires it. This code expires in maybe five minutes so you can't wait too long. A phone authenticator app shows a CODE that changes every couple minutes. It can be annoying in that it can expire before you have a chance to enter it on the computer. You then have to check the phone again for the updated CODE.

    I have both the Microsoft and Google Authenticator apps on my phone. However, I have only used the Google one. I don't use it anymore because I have found email and phone text messages easier to deal with. Email might seem to be preferable because a phone is not required. However, some sites insist on using text messages for the CODE. However, I use the Phone Link app on my computer so I can view phone text messages with it on my computer.
      My Computers


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