About a month ago I accidently dropped my Nexus 4. Altough it dropped from only about half a meter- the screen broke and the multitouch stopped working too. I was lucky (and smart :P) enough to take a backup before it happend, so I can switch to a new device instead of fixing the N4 screen to recover the data on it. However, I enabled 2-factor auth on my GitHub account, and it was connected to the Google Authenticator app. When I enabled it, I was dumb and didn't download the recover keys- the only way to recover the account. It means that resotring the Google Auth app from the ADB backup is the only way to recover my account, but there's a little problem: I have no android device right now, and it may take some time until i'd buy a new one. So, the question is- is there any way to recover my account from ADB backup of the Google Auth app without an Android phone?

Thanks! :)

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    I currently don't know in which format those backups are stored, but if it is a simple archive (not encrypted & no proprietary archive) then you are able to extract your Google Authenticator's application data and copy that to an emulator/virtual android device for instance together with the app and you should be good to go. A similar version of these instructions helped me restoring all my accounts, too. And if you got it: Remember to save your backup codes.
    – GiantTree
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 21:44
  • Here is an answer that is related to the format of the Backups. See this question/answer about how to migrate Google Authenticator accounts. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


You cannot get the recovery keys (which are used to create backup codes) from adb backup of Google Authenticator because they do not exist in that backup. Adb backup of Google Authenticator only backup the user preferences of that app.

Furthermore, if you took a single adb backup, hoping all apps would have been backed up that way, than I'm afraid even the user preferences were not backed up. A specific flag is used for Authenticator when backing up through adb. Without that, the app cannot be backed up. You can read more on that in my answer here.

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    On the contrary, Titanium Backup actually backs up the key - don't leak your TB archive to anyone :)
    – iBug
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 8:12

I think the more experienced members here should be able to give a more detailed answer in regards to how to go about the actual migration.

I did manage to find something through search engine, for your consideration: How to Move Your Google Authenticator Credentials to a New Android Phone or Tablet

And mostly, I wanted to also suggest (as you are specifically asking about getting access to Authenticator without a replacement device) using an Android emulator to accomplish this. These are very easy to setup and have root access as a preference toggle, although most are marketed toward the mobile gaming community. One that I have used myself is MEmu.

Just note that when you access through ADB and have a physical device plugged in as well, you will need to push commands by, e.g.:

adb -d ...  (to USB device)
adb -s ###.###.###.###:##### ... (to emulator)

I hope that helps!

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