Authentication methods in Azure Active Directory - Microsoft Authenticator app

The Microsoft Authenticator app provides an additional level of security to your Azure AD work or school account or your Microsoft account and is available for Android and iOS. With the Microsoft Authenticator app, users can authenticate in a passwordless way during sign-in, or as an additional verification option during self-service password reset (SSPR) or Azure Multi-Factor Authentication events.

Users may receive a notification through the mobile app for them to approve or deny, or use the Authenticator app to generate an OATH verification code that can be entered in a sign-in interface. If you enable both a notification and verification code, users who register the Authenticator app can use either method to verify their identity.

To use the Authenticator app at a sign-in prompt rather than a username and password combination, see Enable passwordless sign-in with the Microsoft Authenticator app (preview).

Note

Users don't have the option to register their mobile app when they enable SSPR. Instead, users can register their mobile app at https://aka.ms/mfasetup or as part of the combined security info registration at https://aka.ms/setupsecurityinfo.

Passwordless sign-in

Instead of seeing a prompt for a password after entering a username, a user that has enabled phone sign-in from the Microsoft Authenticator app sees a message to tap a number in their app. When the correct number is selected, the sign-in process is complete.

Example of a browser sign-in asking for user to approve the sign-in

This authentication method provides a high level of security, and removes the need for the user to provide a password at sign-in. Passwordless sign-in using the Microsoft Authenticator app is currently in preview.

To get started with passwordless sign-in, see Enable passwordless sign-in with the Microsoft Authenticator app.

Notification through mobile app

The Authenticator app can help prevent unauthorized access to accounts and stop fraudulent transactions by pushing a notification to your smartphone or tablet. Users view the notification, and if it's legitimate, select Verify. Otherwise, they can select Deny.

Screenshot of example web browser prompt for Authenticator app notification to complete sign-in process

Note

If your organization has staff working in or traveling to China, the Notification through mobile app method on Android devices doesn't work in that country/region as Google play services(including push notifications) are blocked in the region. However iOS notification do work. For Android devices ,alternate authentication methods should be made available for those users.

Verification code from mobile app

The Authenticator app can be used as a software token to generate an OATH verification code. After entering your username and password, you enter the code provided by the Authenticator app into the sign-in interface. The verification code provides a second form of authentication.

Users may have a combination of up to five OATH hardware tokens or authenticator applications, such as the Microsoft Authenticator app, configured for use at any time.

Warning

To ensure the highest level of security for self-service password reset when only one method is required for reset, a verification code is the only option available to users.

When two methods are required, users can reset using either a notification or verification code in addition to any other enabled methods.

Next steps

To get started with passwordless sign-in, see Enable passwordless sign-in with the Microsoft Authenticator app.

Learn more about configuring authentication methods using the Microsoft Graph REST API beta.