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Zoom’s Video Calls Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted Despite Giving The Impression They Are

Zoom's video calls aren't end-to-end encrypted despite giving the impression that they are. Here is everything you need to know about this.


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WhatsApp Might Finally Let People Use Multiple Phones With The Same Number

WhatsApp might finally let people use multiple phones with the same number. Here's everything you need to know about this.


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LG G8 ThinQ Android Phone Is Available Now For A New Amazon Low Of Just $399 [Usually: $600]

Amazon is offering an unlocked LG G8 ThinQ Android phone for just $399.99, a new Amazon low. Normally this phone would sell for around $600 at other retailers, making this a very impressive sale indeed.


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The 10 Best Reverse Image Search Apps for iPhone and Android

Search engines make it easy to find information or buy products, but what if you want to identify a picture you have? In these cases, reverse image search comes to the rescue.

This powerful feature allows you to upload an image to search instead of entering text. Let’s take a look at the best reverse image search tools available on your iPhone or Android device.

1. CamFind

CamFind is a basic yet functional reverse image search tool. The next time you want to search for an image, just open up CamFind and take a picture. Once the picture uploads, the app matches it against others on the internet and identifies the object.

After this, have a look at the available results. You can look for related images, shop for the item, watch related videos, search on the web, or go through related posts. Even better, you can set a visual reminder and share your finds with others.

Download: CamFind for iOS | Android (Free)

2. Google Lens

Google Lens initially arrived as a Pixel exclusive; the company later integrated the feature into Google Photos. Now both iOS and Android users can use Google Lens to reverse search images.

On Android, Google Lens is available as a standalone app. iOS users can access Lens within the Google Photos app. Open an image that you’ve taken and tap the Lens icon (second from the right, next to the trash icon).

Google’s visual search engine will analyze the image; the results include a link to the Google image search page.

Download: Google Photos for iOS (Free)
Download: Google Lens for Android (Free)

3. Veracity

Veracity is an intuitive visual search engine app. It lets you choose images from your Camera Roll or Photo Library, plus it can link to your Dropbox account. Veracity offers a basic image editor, but you have to pay to unlock it.

Another downside is that Veracity doesn’t come with an option to share results with others.

Download: Veracity for iOS (Free, premium version available)

4. Reverse Image Search App

Reverse Image Search App provides another minimalist reverse search engine experience. Take images from your Camera Roll or Photo Library to reverse image search via Google Image Search, Yandex Image Search, and Bing Image Search.

You can also crop, rotate images, and save them to your device for free. However, removing ads from Reverse Image Search App requires a small fee.

While this app isn’t available on Android, check out the similar Reverse Image Search for a close experience.

Download: Reverse Image Search App for iOS (Free, premium version available)
Download: Reverse Image Search for Android (Free)

5. Direct Image Search on Google

You can use Google’s direct image search in Safari or Chrome, but it’s a bit complicated. You have to request the desktop site to proceed with the search.

Follow these steps to use Google’s reverse image search function on mobile devices:

  1. Open the Google Images site in your browser.
  2. For Safari on iOS, tap on the aA button at the top-left. Choose Request Desktop Website from the menu.
    1. If you’re using Chrome on iOS, tap the Share icon at the top-right of the screen and scroll down to Request Desktop Site in the list.
  3. For Chrome on Android, tap the three-dot Menu button at the top-right and check the Desktop site box.
  4. Tap the camera icon that appears on the page.
  5. Now you can choose to either upload an image or paste a URL, just like you would on your desktop.

Check out these nifty Google Image Search tricks to master the tool.

Visit: Google Images

6. Photo Sherlock

Photo Sherlock comes with a simplified user interface. The app allows you to reverse search an image directly using your camera. If you prefer, you can also use your Camera Roll to upload pictures.

Once uploaded, you can choose to crop the image to focus on the main element. The app then fetches an image search result from Google.

Download: Photo Sherlock for iOS | Android (Free)

7. TinEye Reverse Image Search

If you don’t want to download a dedicated app, many online tools offer a reverse image search in a mobile-friendly format. TinEye is one such service that lets you search an image by URL or by sharing a file. Once uploaded, the tool crawls the web and adds images to its index.

TinEye lets you sort the results by Best Match, Most Changed, Biggest Image, Newest, and Oldest. Further, you can filter the result across top domains and collections.

Visit: TinEye

8. Reverse Photos Image Search

Reverse Photos Search is another reverse image search web tool. Like others, this one is basic and allows you to upload images from your camera, Photo Library, or other folders.

Once uploaded, the tool will hand your image off to Google Images, where it tries to find a match. This is a simple tool if you don’t want to bother with requesting the desktop Google Images site on your mobile device, but the intrusive ads are unsightly.

Visit: Reverse Photos Search

9. Baidu Image Search

As you may know, Google services are not available in China. Thus, Chinese search engine Baidu takes up the mantle in that region.

If you are in China or want to search for an image that is relevant to China, Baidu’s image search is one of the best options. As you’d expect, the website lets you take a photo or upload it from your library. Baidu also allows you to crop the image before searching.

Visit: Baidu Images

10. Yandex

Yandex is a popular search engine in Russia. Like Google, it offers an image search feature. Upload an image by tapping the camera icon on the search bar. You can also use your camera and search for an image without saving the photo to your library.

Your search results will attempt to identify text in your image and show you similar images.

Visit: Yandex Images

The Importance of Reverse Image Search

Reverse image searching is hugely helpful when you need to look up something you’ve seen but don’t know much about.

Apart from shopping and product discovery, reverse image search has many other uses. You can use it to see if photos are authentic and snuff out fake news. For more like this, we’ve also looked at some apps that help you find clothes by a picture.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Reverse Image Search Apps for iPhone and Android

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How to Lock/Unlock an Android Phone With Your Voice Using Google Assistant

Ever wonder if the hands-free capabilities of Google’s voice assistant extend to unlocking your smartphone? Google Assistant can do a whole lot using voice commands—including a smartphone unlock with Voice Match—depending on your version of Android.

We’ll explain this nifty trick, as well as whether your Android device allows it, in this guide on how to unlock and lock your phone with your voice.

How to Get Google Assistant on Android

To use Google’s voice unlock feature, you’ll need to have Google Assistant on your phone.

Newer Android phones (typically with Android 7.0 Nougat and newer) come with Google Assistant already installed. When setting up your new phone, you simply need to enable the feature and grant the Google app the relevant permissions. In case you’re not sure it’s enabled, open your Google app and tap the More button. Choose Settings > Google Assistant to check.

If you have an older version of Android, Google Assistant is delivered through an automatic update. Any phone with Android Lollipop (5.0) or higher can run the app—just download the Google Assistant app from Google Play.

There are a few prerequisites that can hamper or delay the update. If your phone is compatible with Assistant but you haven’t seen a prompt to activate it, you should check a few criteria first.

Firstly, make sure the language you’ve selected for your phone is one of the languages supported by Google Assistant.

If you have the correct language set and you still don’t see Google Assistant, make sure your Google Play Services app is up-to-date. Older, less powerful devices aren’t compatible with Google Assistant; you need at least 1GB (Android 5.0) of memory and a 720p screen resolution.

How to Voice Unlock Your Phone Using Google Assistant

Note: The smartphone voice unlock feature of Google Assistant only works on certain versions of Android: specifically Android 5.0 to Android 7.1.2. Google has removed this feature from Android 8.0 and up.

If you have the right Android version, unlocking your phone with Google Assistant is as easy as saying “OK Google.” To do this, you will first need to set up the following:

  1. Register a trusted voice model with Google Assistant.
  2. Enable voice unlock in Assistant’s settings.

You can do both of these by opening Google Assistant and accessing its settings. To do this, tap the blue Drawer icon in Google Assistant’s interface. Select the three-dot Menu button and choose Settings. Under the Devices heading, tap your phone. Enable both Access with Voice Match and Unlock with Voice Match here.

Once enabled, you’ll be prompted to train a trusted voice model to unlock your phone. This ensures that Google Assistant will only respond to your voice when the phone is locked.

When you enable voice unlocking, the app will prompt you to record a few phrases. If you ever want to retrain the voice model for some reason, you will find the option within the same settings menu under Voice model > Retrain voice model.

You may want to do this if your original recording was at a low volume or in a noisy environment. For security purposes, your phone only stores one trusted voice model at a time. While you can set up multiple voice profiles on Google Home, this doesn’t apply to your smartphone.

Voice Unlock Issues You May Encounter

Unlocking your phone with Google Assistant is not always foolproof, especially if you have other security measures on your lock screen. If your phone requires a fingerprint, pattern, face ID, or PIN, Google Assistant may only be able to wake your phone and turn on the screen, but not get past the security screen. In those cases, you’ll still need to input the security method.

You can get past that hurdle by removing the security screen, but we don’t recommend this. Rather, consider adding a delay timer to prevent your phone from locking immediately after the screen goes to sleep. This means your phone will only lock and require a security method if it is inactive for a certain amount of time.

To change this setting, head to Settings > Security & location. Tap the Gear icon next to the Screen lock entry and choose the delay under Automatically lock.

In the same menu, you can also set up Google Smart Lock. This keeps your phone from locking in trusted locations, when connected to certain Bluetooth devices, and more. You can then wake your device without needing a PIN or other security method in those cases.

With so many brand-specific variations of Android available, voice unlocking is not always consistent across all devices. Some phones that have security locks will automatically unlock for a trusted voice.

The most troublesome issue with some phones is that voice unlocking will not work unless the screen is already on.

How to Voice Lock Your Phone With Google Assistant

lock phone google assistant

Locking your phone with Google Assistant is a much more straightforward affair. However, it requires a bit of setup because the app doesn’t have native functionality to lock your phone.

So how do you get around this? Use a custom command.

In Google Assistant, you can set up custom commands and command chains, called Routines. Setting up custom voice commands with Routines expands the Assistant’s capabilities. Locking your phone is just one of the ways you can use this functionality.

There are a variety of apps that have the sole purpose of locking your phone. You simply need to pair one of these apps with a custom Google command. First, you need to download one.

Two options, both free, include:

Install the apps and grant them the necessary permissions. Whenever you open the app, it will switch off your screen and lock your phone.

Adding a Screen Off Command

To turn this into a hands-free option, you need to get Google Assistant to open the app for you. You can do this by opening Assistant’s Settings menu like earlier, selecting Routines, and adding a new custom command with the Plus button.

Under the header When I say, enter commands such as:

  • Lock my phone
  • Lock screen
  • Go to sleep

Any statement will do, and you can add as many variations as you like. These are personal commands, not ones native to Google Assistant.

Under the header My Assistant should, type in Open [App name]. Include the name of whichever screen lock app you have installed. Make sure to include the whole name of the app as it appears on your phone, else it will just run a Google search. Save the command and you’re good to go.

Now, whenever you say any lock phrase, Assistant will automatically lock your screen.

Using Google Assistant on Your Lock Screen

So what options do you on newer versions of Android to use Google Assistant with your voice while your phone is locked? Voice Match on these devices won’t let you unlock your phone, but you can still use Google Assistant voice commands while your phone is locked.

Like the above method, you must first to train a trusted voice model to do this. Open the Google app and select the More tab. Go to Settings > Voice > Voice Match. Here you can train a voice model so that voice commands work even when your screen is off.

To allow Google Assistant to access more private apps (such as your email and text messages) while your screen is off, you need to go to go back to the Google app. Visit Settings > Google Assistant and switch to the Assistant tab. Scroll down to Assistant devices and select your device.

Enable Personal Results and Lock screen personal results to get Google Assistant to send messages, access your email, and open similar apps when your phone is locked.

Other Voice Commands for Google Assistant

If you didn’t know about unlocking and locking your phone with Google Assistant, you might have missed out on some of the app’s other features. Custom commands and routines open up a whole new world of functionality, if you use the right apps.

Curious about what else Google Assistant can do? Have a look at our guide on how to use Google Assistant to add more convenience to your life. If you use Google Assistant to get past accessibility issues, take a look at these useful Android accessibility apps.

Read the full article: How to Lock/Unlock an Android Phone With Your Voice Using Google Assistant

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The New Google Podcasts Is Available on iOS and Android

Google has launched a new version of its Podcasts app. And, for the first time ever, Google Podcasts is now available on iOS as well as Android. What’s more, across both mobile platforms, Google has redesigned the Podcasts app to make it easier to use.

Google Wants You to Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts have been around for longer than you might think. However, they have massively grown in popularity in recent years to become a medium in their own right. The two issues are choosing the best app to listen to them on, and finding new podcasts to listen to.

Google thinks it has solved both of these issues with the new version of Google Podcasts. Now available on both Android and iOS, according to The Keyword, Podcasts has been redesigned to make it easier than ever to listen to, organize, and discover podcasts.

How to Use the New Google Podcasts

The new Google Podcasts boasts three main tabs: Home, Explore, and Activity.

Home provides you with a feed of new episodes and quick access to the shows you subscribe to. Selecting an episode will reveal the topics discussed in that episode. You can then learn more about those topics by jumping over to Google Search.

new Google Podcasts app

Explore is where you’ll find new podcasts to listen to. The “For You” tab will feature new shows and episodes of shows Google thinks you’ll enjoy. To the right of that are other tabs recommending popular podcasts across a range of different categories.

Activity is where you’ll find everything you have been doing on Google Podcasts. This includes episodes you have already listened to, episodes you have queued up to listen to, which episodes you have downloaded, and which podcasts you’re subscribed to.

Download: Google Podcasts on iOS | Android

Other Podcasts Apps on Android and iOS

Google faces a tough time persuading iPhone users to switch from Apple Podcasts to Google Podcasts. And there are plenty of alternatives on both operating systems. So, here are the best podcast apps for Android and the best podcast apps for iOS.

While Google Podcasts is all about helping you listen to podcasts, perhaps you would prefer to record your own podcast instead. Now is as good a time as any, and all you need is an original idea in your head and the right equipment to start podcasting.

Read the full article: The New Google Podcasts Is Available on iOS and Android

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What Is My Phone’s IMEI? Here’s What You Need to Know

You may have heard your insurance company or law enforcement encourage you to record your IMEI. You might have even seen it in your phone’s settings or device packaging. What isn’t so clear is what the IMEI number is actually for.

So, what exactly is an IMEI number, and how do you find yours?

What Is an IMEI Number?

Apple iPad Air 2 IMEI Codes

The International Mobile Equipment Identity—or IMEI—is a unique numerical identifier for every mobile device.

This number helps to differentiate each device from one another. If you take your phone in for repair, they will track it using the IMEI to distinguish it from the other millions of iPhones, for example.

A standard IMEI number is a 14 digit string, with an additional 15th check digit for verifying the entire string. There is also a 16 digit variation that includes information on the device’s software version, known as the IMEISV.

Since 2004, the IMEI appears in the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D. The sections labeled A and B are known as the Type Allocation Code (TAC). The TAC portion of the IMEI identifies the manufacturer and model of the device. For example, the Google Pixel TAC code is 35-161508, while the iPhone 6s Plus is 35-332907.

Some models have multiple TACs depending on revision, manufacturing location, and other factors. For example, the iPhone 5C had five different TAC codes.

The six C digits represent your device’s unique serial number, and the handset manufacturer defines these. The D portion of the IMEI is a check digit that ensures the IMEI meets the Allocation and Approval Guidelines. The check digit is displayed on packaging to prevent incorrect IMEI recording, but it doesn’t make up part of the documented IMEI.

While the IMEI number is undoubtedly significant, it isn’t the only regulatory requirement for your smartphone. Manufacturers have to abide by regulations for each region they want to sell their devices in. The IMEI doesn’t show that the equipment meets any of those other safety and regulation requirements.

Finding Your IMEI

iPhone X IMEI Number

There are a couple of ways you can go about finding your device’s IMEI. The most universal approach is to head to your device’s dialer app. Tap in *#06# and the IMEI will be displayed on the screen.

If you have an Android or iOS device, then the IMEI can be found under Settings too. On iOS head to Settings > General > About and the IMEI will be displayed. Copying the IMEI is as simple as tapping and holding on the number. Android devices may vary, but generally heading to Settings > About Phone should display the IMEI.

If you can’t access your device, there are other ways to find your IMEI too. The retail packaging should have a label with the IMEI displayed. If your device has a removable battery, then the IMEI is often listed underneath the battery. Many devices have the IMEI printed on the back. Others, including the iPhone 6s and above, have the IMEI inscribed on the SIM tray.

However, if you are about to purchase a new device, particularly a second-hand one, you’ll want to verify it’s status using the IMEI, too. To do this, head over to IMEI.info and enter the smartphone’s IMEI number.

This free tool will tell you a bit about the device, as well as offer you additional services like a basic blacklist check. If you want to gain even greater clarity, IMEI.info has premium services like a separate blacklist check for each major US carrier and a SIM-lock status tool.

If you’re after the information in a hurry, and don’t mind paying for it, the premium service CheckMEND offers a Device History Check for just under a dollar.

What Is an IMEI Number Used For?

The IMEI’s primary purpose is to equip your device with a unique ID number. So, in practice, the IMEI is very similar to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) used in the automotive industry. Although sometimes confused, the IMEI number is entirely separate from your SIM number and cannot be changed.

When you connect to a cell network, the provider captures both numbers to enable their service. The SIM number identifies your subscriber account, while the IMEI only identifies the device.

If your device is lost or stolen, you can contact your provider who may be able to place a block on the IMEI number, preventing it from being used to connect to the network. Your provider may also be able to contact other networks, asking them also to block the device. Once you’ve done so, you can then use built-in tools to find your phone’s location.

Law enforcement often keep records of lost and recovered phones, identified by their IMEI. Since there is no good reason to change the device’s IMEI, the practice is illegal in many regions.

While it may be illegal to change the IMEI of a device, it does happen. Thieves, in particular, will attempt to take non-blacklisted numbers and apply them to their stolen devices to make them usable again. For this reason, we recommend that you never share or post your IMEI number online, or else you may find your device cloned.

We advise against sharing personal data online more generally, too.

Have You Recorded Your IMEI?

The IMEI number is one of the most important and unique ways of identifying your device. If you haven’t already, you should locate it and take note of it right away.

Keep a record of your IMEI somewhere safe, so it’s there if you ever need it. If you are looking for a digital safe, then a password manager might even do the trick.

That said, if you’ve found or recovered someone else’s smartphone, you may be wondering how to get it back to them. In that case, you’ll want to know what to do if you find a lost or stolen iPhone.

Read the full article: What Is My Phone’s IMEI? Here’s What You Need to Know

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How to Send Automatic Replies to Text Messages on Android

If you’re usually quick to respond to text messages, people might worry if you don’t reply for a while. Thankfully, it’s easy to set up automatic text replies on Android.

Using a few apps, you can send auto-responses to people who try to contact you while you’re driving, in a meeting, or otherwise occupied. Here’s how to auto-reply to texts on Android.

Automatically Respond While Driving With Android Auto

If you’re primarily interested in automatic responses while driving, Android Auto lets you respond to texts with one tap. This applies whether your car has an Android Auto-compatible unit or you use the Android Auto app on your phone.

To set up automated text responses in Android Auto, first open the app. Slide out the left sidebar and choose Settings. Under the Notifications section, tap Auto reply. Here, you can customize the text that appears when you auto-respond to a message.

Make sure you have the Show message notifications and/or Show group message notifications toggles enabled, too. Otherwise, you won’t know when a message comes in and can’t auto-respond.

Now, when you see a notification come in for a message, you can hit the auto-response field to send your automated message with one quick tap. Plus, this works for all Android Auto-supported messaging apps (such as WhatsApp and Telegram), not just SMS. While it’s not fully automated, it’s a safer way to respond on the road when needed.

Be sure to check out the best Android Auto apps to get more use out of the service.

Download: Android Auto (Free)

Use the SMS Auto Reply App

The above is great for driving, but there’s much more you can do to auto-reply to texts on Android. One of the best apps for the job is SMS Auto Reply Text Message, which offers most of its features for free.

Download: SMS Auto Reply Text Message (Free, in-app purchases available)

Getting Started With SMS Auto Reply

After installing the app, you can walk through the basic overview and start making your own auto-response rules. Tap Add/Edit on the home screen to start one.

At the top, you’ll see the Busy template is selected by default. You can tap this to change it to others like Driving, Meeting, or Movie. Each one has its own preset message, which you can edit in the Message field.

If you want to create a new response template, tap the Plus icon at the top-right and give it a name. Before moving on, make sure you have SMS selected under Select channel to reply to so the responder works on text messages.

Messages for Specific Contacts

Next, you can optionally choose to send a personalized message to particular contacts. This allows you to leave a more personal note for people you know well or are expecting a message from, for example.

Tap the Pencil icon next to Personalized List to select contacts or contact groups that the specific message should go to. Once you choose the contacts, type out the message for them.

You’ll also see a Don’t Reply List field. This allows you to specify numbers that you don’t want to auto-respond to. For instance, you can exclude automated numbers like bank alerts.

When you’re done, tap Save to keep your changes to the current template.

Setting a Time Period for Responses

Next, you’ll want to set up a time for the auto-responder to run. Choose Set Time on the editing or home page to configure this.

Use the From and To fields at the top of the screen to set when the service should be active. From there, you have three options for how responses work:

  • Choose Run by Time to activate the responder during the chosen times every day.
  • Run by Date will respond to messages in the time period you’ve selected, during a period of dates that you choose.
  • Select Run by Week Days to use the responder for the time period you’ve selected only on certain days of the week. Check the Repeat Weekly box if you want it to run the same way in the coming weeks.

Tap Save and you’ll go to the On/Off screen. Here, the app will let you know that due to Android limitations, it only works with SMS text messages. This means it’s not compatible with missed calls and MMS as it once was.

Toggling Auto-Responses

On the Turn ON/OFF page, you’ll see all the auto-response rules you’ve created. If you’d like to create different profiles for different times or groups of people, you can repeat the above steps to set up as many rules as you like.

To finally enable auto-responses, enable the slider next to a rule. When you do this, the app will prompt you to enable notification access so it knows when you get a text message. It also asks you to disable battery optimization and allow unrestricted data access so it can run properly.

This is a lot of permissions to grant, but is necessary for the app to function as intended.

When a rule is currently running, you’ll see it highlighted in blue on this page.

Auto Responder Settings and Other Features

That’s all you need to get started with SMS Auto Reply. The service has a few extras that you should know about, however.

Once a rule has come into effect, tap Reports on the home screen to view information about what messages it sent while that profile was active. On the left sidebar, you can use the Backup tool to save your configurations to Google Drive.

Also on this sidebar, you’ll find a Settings menu that’s worth examining. For instance, enable Send only one reply and the app won’t respond to multiple messages from the same person in a time period. Under Reply rules, you can also choose to respond only to your contacts, non-contacts, or personalized lists.

You can also choose to ignore short numbers, which is a good idea since most automated messages come from short code numbers.

Auto Reply offers a few in-app purchases to unlock more features. These include auto-responding to messages from Facebook and WhatsApp, setting an alarm when rules end, and adding a default state. It costs $4.49 for everything (including ad removal), which is worthwhile if you use the service often.

More Auto-Response Options With IFTTT

If you don’t like the above solution for some reason, you can always create your own auto-responses with IFTTT.

First, sign up for IFTTT and activate the Android SMS service by installing the app on your Android phone. From there, you can use Android text messages as both triggers and actions for new applets.

IFTTT Android SMS

You’re only limited by your creativity here. For example, you might use the New SMS received matches search trigger to catch messages containing certain words. The action could then send an SMS in response letting them know that you’re not available.

There’s a lot to digest with IFTTT, so check out our complete IFTTT guide to help you on your way.

Download: IFTTT (Free)

Auto-Replying to Text Messages Made Easy

We’ve looked at a few ways to send auto-response texts on Android. Whether you just want an easy way to let people know you’re driving or wish to dive into a full setup with multiple profiles, you won’t have to leave anyone waiting for a response again.

To get even more out of texts, check out how to schedule SMS on Android and the best services that put SMS to good use.

Read the full article: How to Send Automatic Replies to Text Messages on Android

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The 5 Best Alternatives to Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator is a useful app for keeping track of your two-factor authentication (2FA) keys, but it’s by no means the only one. If you feel it lacks a few key features, or you want something more open-source, there are other authenticators available to suit your needs.

Let’s take a look at some Google Authenticator alternatives, and why you might want one to begin with.

Why Replace Google Authenticator?

Google has tried to dip a toe into niches such as social media and gaming, with the latter getting a less-than-stellar score in our Google Stadia review. Google Authenticator, on the other hand, has over 10 million downloads to date, making it one of the most popular 2FA authenticators for Android.

While it is popular, it’s not perfect. Google Authenticator doesn’t ask you to verify your identity when you open the app. It also doesn’t hide the codes away when you open the app: every code is visible from the get-go. This makes it dangerous if someone gets a hold of your unlocked phone, as they can mess with your codes without issue.

Google Authenticator also doesn’t have any backup or phone transfer features. You can tell this is a problem by looking through some of the negative reviews for the app.

Some people have lost their phones and were locked out of their accounts. Others want to transfer the authenticator over to a new phone, only to find that Google Authenticator doesn’t support this.

As you can see, there’s plenty of reason to look for a Google Authenticator alternative. So, let’s break down five of the best, and how they improve upon Google’s formula.

1. Authy

Authy has positioned itself as a top rival to Google Authenticator. Right off the bat, it offers to back up all of your saved accounts, in case you have to wipe the phone or change phones. It does this by encrypting the information and storing it in the cloud.

Authy also distinguishes itself by offering a desktop app, as well as the smartphone version. This means you don’t need to be continuously tied to your phone for codes; instead, you can get your codes directly from your desktop. This is even more useful if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet.

It offers passcode protection, so no-one can just casually access your codes. As such, if someone gets hold of your unlocked phone, they still have the app’s passcode protection to break into before they can see your 2FA codes.

Blacking out any screenshots taken means Authy can stop malicious agents from snapping images of your codes. This may seem like overkill, but as we covered in our ways to protect yourself against keyloggers, malware can take snapshots of your screen to read your data.

Authy describes its aim as finding a solution to “a complex problem—killing passwords.” Whether that will happen or not, nobody knows. As for the case of Authy vs. Google Authenticator, however, Authy is a clear winner.

Download: Authy for Android | iOS (Free)

2. HENNGE OTP

The HENNGE OTP website

HENNGE OTP also offers its users passcode protection to prevent casual snooping The app is compatible with all of the popular services—Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Evernote, and WordPress, to name a few.

The only limitation to this app though is that it is only available for iOS, so Android users are out of luck. If you are an iOS user and want something simple without many bells and whistles, it’s worth trying this app for yourself.

Download: HENNGE OTP for iOS (Free)

3. Sound Login Authenticator

If you want to try something a little more unique, why not log in through sound? No more typing in those pesky codes; just have your phone make a noise, and you’re all signed in.

As is evident by the name of the app, this app relies on sound to generate the one-time codes. It takes a bit of initial setup; you need the app on your phone and the browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, or Opera). Your PC should also have a microphone (we’re dealing with audio, remember?).

When you want to log in, you point your phone to the PC microphone and tap the account on the smartphone screen that you want to access. The app will give off a short ringtone, which transmits the temporary code to the browser extension. This pre-fills the code into the website you’re trying to log into.

As such, this removes the need to quickly type in a 2FA code under a time limit. If you’re a slow typist and need something more comfortable than entering a six-digit code, you may find reprieve with Sound Login.

Download: Sound Login Authenticator for Android | iOS (Free)

4. FreeOTP

The FreeOTP website

If you’re a privacy advocate, you won’t want to touch any 2FA token generator that isn’t open-source. Fortunately, there are apps out there that respect your privacy and use an open-source base, so you can feel confident that companies aren’t harvesting your data.

FreeOTP is developed by Red Hat, an open-source developer that appeared in 1993. You can quickly add a generator with the QR code scanner, or enter your details manually. The app is very lightweight and straightforward, making FreeOTP a fantastic choice if you want a token generator you can trust and nothing more.

Download: FreeOTP for Android | iOS (Free)

5. andOTP

The andOTP logo

If you like the idea of an open-source token generator, but you don’t like FreeOTP’s lack of features, try andOTP instead. It keeps the trustworthy open-source base but adds a heap of useful features on top.

For instance, andOTP can backup your code generators on a server, with different levels of encryption available. You can change the theme if you’re a fan of dark mode. You can lock andOTP behind a password or a PIN code, meaning someone who picks up your phone doesn’t have access to all your codes without being challenged.

Finally, the app has the aptly-named “panic trigger.” If you think your phone is compromised, you can send the app a panic trigger. You can choose what the app does with this trigger; it can either wipe every account, reset the app to default settings, or both.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, andOTP is only available for Android. As such, iOS users who want an open-source solution can stick with FreeOTP for the time being.

Dowload: andOTP for Android (Free)

Choosing Powerful Alternatives to Google

Google Authenticator has a huge number of downloads, but it’s by no means the best. If you’re looking for password-secured app access, backups, and open-source code, you’ll have better luck with the best Google Authenticator alternatives available.

If you’re ready to cut the cord completely, be sure to check out the alternatives to Google Search, News, Docs, and more.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Alternatives to Google Authenticator

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