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How to switch on 2-step verification for Gmail and Google

Guys, protecting your email accounts is so important! Once your email account is compromised, the hacker can gain access to pretty much everything else. Why? Because majority of web application use email as the medium for recovering lost or forgotten passwords.

For that reason you need to protect your email as much as you can. The good news is that this extra protection is very easy to set up, it only takes 2 minutes. It is not 100% perfect, hacking is still possible, but breaking is will be much more difficult that in reality, vast majority of people that will take advantage of it, will never be hacked.

OK, what is this extra protection? It is so called 2-step verification. By default, once the email account is set up, you use 1-step verification. You type your username and password. Once they are typed correctly, the access is granted. With 2-step verification, you still need to have some type of verification. Usually, it is a special security code sent to your mobile phone you need to type. It can also be a prompt visible at your mobile phone that you need to tap.

Today I will show you how to quickly switch this on with Google to protect your Gmail and other Google applications (YouTube, Google Drive, Google Play and so on). Of course, other companies providing the service have got similar solutions. Try to find some online tutorials or refer to their documentation.

Switch on 2-step verification for Gmail and other Google applications

First, head to accounts.google.com and log on to your Google account (use your standard Gmail credentials login name and password). You should see similar screen:

Log on to your Google account

Click Signing in to Google blue link (marked above) on the left-hand side. You will be redirected and see similar screen. Now, click in the area 2-Step Verification as shown below:

Click 2-Step Verification

On the next screen click Get Started button. You will be redirected to a new page when, once again, you will have to type your Gmail password to confirm that it is you who wants to change things.

Click Get Started button

After you have re-typed your password second time, you will see a screen where you inform Google where to send text messages with security code for 2-step verification. In my case the screen looked like that:

Type in your phone number

In the What phone number you want to use area make sure that the correct flag of your country is displayed as this determines the phone country code. I live in the UK so the country code here is +44. If the flag is incorrect, click on the small grey triangle and choose your country from the menu. Next, type in your phone number. By the way, the phone number within the UK start with 0, so a phone number may look like 0789 123 4567. However, when you call this number from abroad, the first 0 is not included so the international phone number looks like that: +44 789 123 4567 . I am not sure if something like that is in your country. Basically, in this step you need to put correct phone number for international calls. Do not worry, if you make a mistake you will be able to change thing later on.

After you typed your phone number, you can choose below if you want to receive special codes via text messages or received normal voice calls with automated voice telling them. I think text messages are more practical, so I use them. Then, click the NEXT link.

If you typed your phone number correctly, you should get an instant text message (or call) displaying (or saying) the first special code. Type the code you had received to confirm that everything is correct:

Type in the special code form text message

Then, click NEXT link. That is all really, if you typed the messaged correctly, the 2-Step Verification should be set up correctly. You should see this confirmation (and also receive email message from Google about it):

Confirmation

Now, every time you will want to log on to any Google account for the first time, you will receive text message (or call) with special code you need to type in.

Easy logins on Google accounts

OK, very well, but is it not just too much hassle? Many people log in and out to Google accounts many times a day. Does it they need to receive and type the codes every time? Not at all. When you log from a device for the first time, you will always have to type both your password and special code. However, you can also decide that you do not want to have this 2-Step Verification on particular device. This is a standard box when trying to log on to Gmail on desktop computer:

Do not ask again on this computer

You can click the checkbox Do not ask again on this computer and you will never be asked again to type the special code (until you clear cookies from your browser). If you use your personal devices, it makes sense as it is relatively safe. For instance my computer is in my house and it is password protected. It is not very likely that some hacker will be using it to log in. So I personally opt out for using codes whenever I use my devices.

However, if I use any public computer (hotel, internet cafe, somebody’s else laptop or phone), I leave this checkbox unmarked so 2-Step Verification will always be required.

Last but not least, it is even possible not to type any code and to have this experience even smoother. You can opt for so called ‘Google prompt’. Instead of the security code to type, there will be information on your phone that somebody tries to log on to your account. All you have to is to tap on the screen to confirm that it is you.

To switch this follow first steps from above. First, head to accounts.google.com and log on. Next click on Signing in to Google and click 2-Step Verification. At this point you will have to type your password again. Then you will see this screen:

Set up Google prompt

Click ADD GOOGLE PROMPT link and choose or add your device. You need to have a compatible phone and it needs to be connected to the internet. I cannot show you exactly how to set this up as I am using an old iPhone that is not compatible but I think it should be pretty straightforward for Android users. If you have got any issues with it, please let me know in the comments below.

I hope you have found it informative and now know how to set up 2-step verification for Gmail and other accounts. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.

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