What you need to know
- Google appears to have backtracked on a new feature it recently added to the Authenticator app.
- The app no longer requires you to tap on a hidden security code to reveal your 2FA code.
- It has also received a minor improvement as part of a new Play Store update.
Google introduced a new feature to its Authenticator app back in May, allowing users to view their security code by tapping. While innocuous, the feature was viewed as an unnecessary addition to the app, and Google now seems to have come to that realization.
As spotted by 9to5Google (opens in new tab), the Google Authenticator app no longer shows a prompt asking you to tap to reveal your two-factor authentication code on the screen. Previously, it would hide all of your security codes from immediate view. This meant you could only see the 2FA combinations you’d need by tapping on a corresponding item. This kept strangers from beathing down your neck and stealing your security code for nefarious purposes.
The feature was the first major update to the app in two years. Meanwhile, Authenticator already has a solution to address potentially unauthorized access to 2FA codes: it changes the combinations every 30 seconds.
Following the latest update to the app (version 5.20R4), Authenticator no longer shows the tap-to-reveal-PIN option when you open it. The disappearance suggests that Google has backtracked on the feature that the app didn’t seem to badly need in the first place.
Google Authenticator is one of the most useful security tools available today, in addition to the best password managers. However, updates for the app have been few and far between.
That said, the latest version of Authenticator has added “device encryption to storage of secret values.”