Get help with two-step verification

This article answers the most common questions that people ask about two-step verification.

Why do I have to perform two-step verification? Can I turn it off?

Two-step verification is a security feature that your organization chose to use to protect your accounts. It's more secure than just a password, because it relies on two forms of authentication: something you know, and something you have with you. The something you know is your password. The something you have with you is a phone or device that you commonly have with you. When your account is protected with two-step verification, that means that a malicious hacker can't sign in as you if they get your password somehow because they don't have access to your phone, too.

Microsoft offers two-step verification, but your organization chooses to use the feature. You can't opt out if your company support requires it of you, just like you can't opt out of using a password to protect your account.

If you have two-step verification turned on for your personal Microsoft account and want to change your settings, read About two-step verification instead.

I don't have my phone with me today

Some days you leave your phone at home, but still need to sign in at work. The first thing you should try is signing in with a different verification method. When you registered for two-step verification, did you set up more than one phone number? To try signing in with a different method, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in as you normally would.
  2. When the two-step verification page opens, choose Use a different verification option.

    Different Verification

  3. Select the verification option you want to use.

  4. Continue with two-step verification.

If you don't see the Use a different verification option link, then that means you didn't set up alternative methods when you first registered for two-step verification. Contact your company support to get help signing in to your account. Once you're signed in, make sure to manage your settings to add additional verification methods for next time.

If you do see the Use a different verification option link, but you don't have access to your alternative methods either, contact your company support to get help signing in to your account.

I lost my phone or got a new number

There are two ways to get back in to your account. The first is to sign in using your alternate authentication phone number, if you have set one up. The second is to ask your company support to clear your settings.

If your phone was lost or stolen, we also recommend that you tell your company support so they can reset your app passwords and clear any remembered devices.

Use an alternate phone number

If you have set up multiple verification options, including a secondary phone number or an authenticator app on a different device, you can use one of them to sign in.

To sign in using the alternate phone number, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in as you normally would.
  2. When prompted to further verify your account, choose Use a different verification option.

    Different Verification

  3. Select the phone number or device that you have access to.

  4. After you're back in your account, manage your settings to change your authentication phone number.

Clear your settings

If you have not configured a secondary authentication phone number, you have to contact your company support for help. Have them clear your settings so the next time you sign in, you will be prompted to register for two-step verification again.

I am not receiving a text or call on my phone

There are several reasons why you may try to sign in, but not receive the text or phone call. If you've successfully received texts or phone calls to your phone in the past, then this is probably an issue with the phone provider, not your account. Make sure that you have good cell signal, and if you are trying to receive a text message make sure that you are able to recieve text messages. Ask a friend to call you or text you as a test.

If you've waited several minutes for a text or call, the fastest way to get into your account is to try a different option.

  1. Select Use a different verification option on the page that's waiting for your verification.

    Different Verification

  2. Select the phone number or delivery method you want to use.

    If you received multiple verification codes, use the newest one.

If you don’t have another method configured, contact your company support and ask them to clear your settings. The next time you sign in, you will be prompted to set up multi-factor authentication again.

If you often have delays due to bad cell signal, we recommend you use the Microsoft Authenticator app on your smartphone. The app can generate random security codes that you use to sign in, and these codes don't require any cell signal or internet connection.

App passwords are not working

First, make sure that you have entered the app password correctly. The generated app password replaces your normal password, but only for older desktop applications that don't support two-step verification. If it still isn't working, try signing-in and create a new app password. If it still doesn't work, contact your company support and have them delete your existing app passwords and then you can create a new one.

I didn't find an answer to my problem.

If you've tried these troubleshooting steps but are still running into problems, contact your company support. They should be able to assist you.