Authy and Google authenticator, are just two different apps doing the same thing; i.e. making the 2-Factor Authentication simple. These apps generate a time-dependent 6 digit code, which you enter after you submit your username and password.
If you don’t know what 2FA is and how it works with Authy, then first watch this video tutorial. It’ll bring you up to speed.
Now, ever since I switched to Authy from Google Authenticator, I have never looked back. Authy is better looking and offers more functionalities. So, let’s take a look at some of these difference in detail.
Authy vs Google Authenticator
1. Look and Feel
I know, look and feel are subjective terms. But still, most people (including me) find Authy interface better. There is also has a copy to clipboard option in Authy, which makes it easy to copy-paste the codes.
2. Multiple Devices
Authy is available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and even for Desktop using the chrome app. And the best part is, you can use it in every device simultaneously.
This is useful when you want to login to your Google account and your phone is kept in a different room, then you can just use the Authy desktop app. No need to get up from your seat.
On the other hand, Google Authenticator works on one device only. Also no desktop support yet. So, if you try to register a new device with Google authenticator, it’ll automatically unregister the previous one.
Now, if you think, having Authenticator app on multiple devices is unsafe. Then Authy also gives you the option to disable it. You can find it under settings > devices > uncheck allow multiple devices.
3. Cloud sync
Authy lets you take cloud backup of all your accounts. This is useful in two situations. One, if you lost your phone, you can still log into your Authy account from other devices. And second, say you bought a new phone, then you can easily migrate your Authy account to it, by simply installing the app and verifying it.
However, in Google authenticator, there are no options for cloud backup or sync. So, if you lost your phone, you lost access to all of your account. Similarly, if you buy a new phone, you’ll have to manually transfer all the accounts, which is a tedious process.
Again, if you think, cloud backup option in Authy, will compromise your security, then you have the option to disable it.
When it comes to in-hand use, Authy is more secure than google authenticator. How? Well, you can set a PIN/MasterPassword/Fingerprint to open the app. But there is no such option in Google Authenticator. Yes, you can use a third-party app locker to protect it, but by default, there is no gatekeeper in Google Authenticator.
And if this is any relief, you should know that Authy encrypts your accounts before uploading them to the server. So even if someone gets access to your Authy backup, they still won’t be able to use it, as they don’t have your master password.
Also, you can not take a screenshot (or record/cast screen) of Authy’s Android app. But you can do that with the Google Authenticator app. So, if someone is secretly recording your screen, at least Authy will make it difficult for them, if not impossible; while Google Authenticator will offer no resistance.
Overall, Authy does pretty much everything that Google authenticator does. Plus, it also comes with some useful features, like — better layout, copy to clipboard, multiple devices support, PIN and cloud backup, etc.
Off course, some may say that these extra features also make it vulnerable (which is true to some extent), but then again, if you don’t want them, you have the option to disable them. And Authy will still work like Google authenticator.
In a nutshell, Authy is a clear winner here. And there is no reason why you should not use it over Google Authenticator.