Leave it to Microsoft to make something as simple as a two-factor authentication (2FA) app as complicated as possible. Thankfully, Microsoft is cleaning up its hodge-podge of authenticator apps that include Azure Authenticator and Microsoft Account on Android with a single, unified version called Microsoft Authenticator.
The app is now available on Android and iOS, and at some point should be landing on Windows 10 Mobile—as soon as it exits the internal beta, that is.
Why this matters: An Authenticator app may not sound that exciting, but the new app does have a nice feature for anyone who lives in Microsoft’s online world. Whenever you log in to a Microsoft account, instead of requiring you to enter an authenticator code on your PC, it will pop-up an alert to let you authorize the login with a tap. Google rolled out a similar feature for Google accounts on Android in June. Enterprise users can also use Microsoft Authenticator on Android to log in to Microsoft-powered apps, according to the app’s description page.
The best feature yet, however, may come first to Windows 10 Mobile once the beta version of the new Microsoft Authenticator goes mainstream. The Windows 10 Mobile app, which first surfaced online in March, promises the ability to log in to a nearby computer with a single tap. However, that feature—according to Microsoft’s description page—requires a Bluetooth connection and appears to be geared towards enterprise users.
If you’re not interested in Microsoft’s authenticator app there are many others to choose from including those from Google and LastPass, as well as a handy cloud-synced service called Authy.