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.
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 Outlook.com 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.