Microsoft Eliminates Passwords for Signing into Online Services, Here’s How to Set It Up


Microsoft is enhancing its approach to two-factor authentication and moving beyond passwords. Here’s what they’ve done and how to get rid of your password!

Microsoft is enhancing its approach to two-factor authentication and looking beyond the password as a means of security and identification. With our smartphones now a mechanical extension of our physical being (I know… depressing isn’t it), the mobile device is likely the safest way to sign into your accounts. That’s exactly what Microsoft has done using its Authenticator app, which we looked at previously. Now, instead of having to remember a complex password; you can ditch the password altogether and use your phone to log into all your Microsoft accounts and services.

Use Your Phone to Sign Into Microsoft Services

Users will need to have the free Microsoft Authenticator app for iOS or Android installed. If you already have an account set up in the app, then all you need to do is Enable Phone sign in.

With phone sign-in, we’re shifting the security burden from your memory to your device. Just add your account to the Android or iOS Microsoft Authenticator app, then enter your username as usual when signing in somewhere new. Instead of entering your password, you’ll get a notification on your phone. Unlock your phone, tap “Approve”, and you’re in.

This process is easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password, which can be forgotten, phished, or compromised. Using your phone to sign in with PIN or fingerprint is a seamless way to incorporate two account “proofs” in a way that feels natural and familiar. Source

Setting up phone sign is straightforward, but you will likely need to use an alternative method to receive an authentication code; because enabling phone sign in will be part of the configuration process. I just chose to have it send me a text, or you can have it call your phone.

Editors Update 4/24/2017 – Over the past few days, we’ve noticed that for some users, enabling phone sign-in is not required. Simply adding your Hotmail, Live or account to the Microsoft Authenticator app enables it for phone sign-in. So, if you don’t see the option to enable phone sign-in as shown below, that’s OK. Skip down to the next section below: How to use Phone Sign-in below.

Launch the Authenticator app, tap the down arrow next to your Microsoft Account, then tap enable phone sign in.

Tap Enable phone sign-in again then choose a method to receive an authentication code.

How to use Phone Sign In

Anytime you need to sign into a Microsoft Service, click the Use the Microsoft Authenticator app instead.

A number will be generated on the sign-in screen, which you will need to tap to approve in the Authenticator app using your passcode or Touch ID. Once authenticated, the service will automatically sign you in.

I enabled two-factor and phone sign-in on my Microsoft accounts recently and all I can say is, Microsoft nailed it. Doesn’t matter if you’re logging in your inbox or syncing Microsoft OneNote, two-factor push requests to my mobile device just works. It’s fast, seamless and just works. I might even go so far as to say, Microsoft two-factor is now easier than using a password.



  1. Dennis Howe

    April 24, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Works like a dream on windows phone 10 as well!

  2. Merry

    April 24, 2017 at 12:37 am

    This would have been fantastic, only I don’t get the option to “enable phone sign-in” in my Authenticator app on my iphone. Just FYI–I guess it’s not available to everyone for whatever reason. :-(

    • Steve Krause

      April 24, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Hi Merry,

      I did a quick test. I’m finding that by simply adding your account to the Microsoft Authenticator app, it was automatically enabled for phone sign-in.

      To test it, just open a new browser window and go to You might need to logout and back in to test it.

      After entering your username, it should give you the link as shown above to use the MS Authenticator App to Login instead of a PW:

      • Merry

        April 24, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        Holy cow, Steve, it worked!! You’re absolutely right, you don’t need to enable the phone sign-in in the app, it does it automatically.
        I logged out of my Outlook account, cleared my cookies and then logged back in. I got the notification on my phone to choose the correct number being displayed on my computer screen. I went to the app on my phone chose the correct number and, voilá, I was in!
        Thanks so much!

  3. Christopher Hall

    April 24, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Same here – no option to enable phone sign-in…Oh well..

    • Steve Krause

      April 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Hi Christopher – see my comment above. Might still work for you. Test it and let me know.

      • Christopher Hall

        April 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

        Hi Steve – I logged into (after making sure I was logged out), but it immediately recognized me. I didn’t have to use the Authenticator. Not sure what’s going on…


        • Steve Krause

          April 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

          It’s probably still using a cookie from your browser. Try a different Browser or clear your cache. Then give it another shot. We will update the article to reflect this however what we are seeing is if you add an account to the Microsoft Authenticator App, it will enable the phone sign-in by default. No need to add it.

          So, you should be golden. ;)

  4. Jim Shunamon

    April 24, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Okay, so I tried setting it up on Android (Marshmallow 6.0.1)

    I got the option to enable phone sign-in. I received a security code at my alternative email address, entered it and my account was set up.

    Now comes the problem. I tried to sign in to my account and after entering the correct username I chose the option to “Use the Microsoft Authenticator app instead”. I received a prompt on my phone, tapped it and a pop-up appeared giving me the option to deny or approve. I selected approve and the authenticator app opened asking me for a code from the authenticatopr app!!!

    I cancelled it and the authenticator closed. I signed into my account using my password then signed back out. I opened the authenticator app, copied the code that it generated and started the process all over again.

    Again, the authenticator app asked me for a code from the authenticator app!!! i tried pasting in the code I had just copied from the app but of course by now it had expired.

    So as it now stands for me, I need a code from the app to authenticate itself. Very circular path with no resolution. Like a programming loop with no escape clause.

    After a quick check on the Google Play store this seems to be a very common complaint (among others). This app has a LOOONG way to go IMO to be on par with Google’s 2 step verification.

    Like the large number of other users on the Google Play store I will be uninstalling immediately and going back to using my password.

    Less secure is better than not being able to get into your account at all. :–(

    • Steve Krause

      April 30, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Jim,

      I might have run into the same experience. The login shows me a single number and I have to click that same number in the MS Authenticator app.

      I would suggest closing everything and trying again. I’ve been using the Two Factor and Phone Sign-in and it’s working great.

  5. Jack Oster (in Australia)

    April 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Does it work for OneDrive?

    • Steve Krause

      April 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm


      I just tested OneDrive and OneNote. They all support login via Microsoft Authenticator instead of Password option. If you have Two Factor enabled on your Microsoft account things look a little different, however, both will use a prompt from the Auth App on your mobile.

  6. Steve

    April 28, 2017 at 7:12 am

    It’s faster and easier to have LastPass sign in for me.

  7. Cyndi

    April 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Not to overstate the obvious, but only works where your cell phone gets a signal, right? Something to think about for those who think their cells will work everywhere. NOT!
    And the whole world doesn’t have wi-fi either, hate to tell you all.

    • Steve Krause

      April 30, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      Great question Cyndi.

      If you happen to find that your mobile doesn’t have service, you can still login.

      1 – Enter Username and PW as normal
      2 – Click the bold “HAVING TROUBLE” text.
      3 – Click text “Enter a security code from your Microsoft Authenticator app instead.”
      4 – Enter 6 digit code from the MS Authenticator app

      So, it’s not as easy as the PUSH method, but, this process still works just fine.

      Also, if you find yourself in a spot where you have no mobile service, you can always use WiFi calling:



  8. Dolly

    May 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I use 2 cell numbers. One for each 2 countries I live in. Can you give 2 differents numbers? And choose every time the correct one? (it is so in Google)

    • Steve Krause

      December 30, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      No. I don’t think so. Only 1 Phone # at a time. However, you should be able to install Microsoft Authenticator on multiple phones – thus giving you access to the creds from both devices.

  9. Darren

    June 10, 2017 at 1:21 am

    And if you lose your phone? What then….

    • Steve Krause

      December 30, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Darren – If you lose your device, you can just goto, click Login. After entering your email address, you can click the link “Other ways to sign-in). This will allow you to login with a Password vs. the Authenticator App.

      So, just don’t lose your PW.

  10. joe

    December 7, 2020 at 8:03 am

    why would you give MS your phone number?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top