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I have a lot of entries in the google authenticator app. Those entries were originally entered by scanning QR-codes. If I lose my phone, those entries are lost, and my experience tells me that some services can not be reset at all without access to 2 step authentication (one service specifically requested a convoluted process with high associated fees in order to verify my identity. I ended up creating a new account - luckily no important data was in the old account)

According to this site (I have not found a better place describing the data needed to generate a QR-code for Google Authenticator), what I need is:

  • a label (I assume free text)
  • user (does this need to be the real user linked to my account?)
  • a key: this is the important part
  • a url (is this important, or only for documentation purposes?)

My questions are:

  1. how do I dump all that data from my current Google Authenticator installation?
  2. What happens if I enter that data into a new Google Authenticator instance? Will the old stop working? How is this mechanism implemented?

EDIT

I do not want simply to backup the Google Authenticator database so that another instance of Google Authenticator can read it. I do not want the data in any proprietary or binary format.

I want the data in human readable form, ideally as a .txt file, so that I can readily use it for other purposes, be it back it up as I please, enter it in another application (Google Authenticator or any other application), use it manually to generate QR-codes with the service provided above, ...

marked as duplicate by bmdixon, Andy Yan, iBug, Matthew Read Nov 21 '17 at 15:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • @bmdixon if by backup you mean "save the data so that another instance of Google Authenticator can read it", then no, that is not what I mean. I do not want the data in any propietary or binary format. I want the data in human readable form, ideally as a .txt file,, so that I can readily use it for other purposes, be it back it up as I please, enter it in another application (Google Authenticator or any other application), use it manually to generate QR-codes with the service provided above, ... – dangonfast Nov 17 '17 at 11:04
  • Several of the answers on that question include how to read the data as text so you can use it as you wish. Not all the answers are relevant in your situation (mine included) but the ones by Anon and dchapkine are, as well as several others. – bmdixon Nov 17 '17 at 11:15
  • @bmdixon indeed you are right. Particurarly, the answer by dchapkine seems ineresting – dangonfast Nov 17 '17 at 11:57
  • You should also be storing the OTPs each of the services gave you for use in resetting TFA when you enabled it. – Matthew Read Nov 21 '17 at 15:57
  • @MatthewRead I do not understand what you mean. Can you clarify? – dangonfast Dec 8 '17 at 14:59