How To Secure Your Instagram Account with Google Authenticator App

Key Takeaways:

  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your Instagram account for an extra layer of security
  • Use the Google Authenticator app to generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) for logging into Instagram
  • Backup your authentication codes and recovery methods in case you lose access to your phone or authenticator app
  • Avoid using SMS-based 2FA as it is less secure than app-based methods

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 1 billion monthly active users. While it’s a great way to share photos and connect with friends, it’s also a target for hackers and scammers. To keep your account safe, it’s important to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) and use a secure authentication app like Google Authenticator.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide a second form of verification in addition to your password when logging into an account. This second factor could be a code sent via SMS, a biometric scan like your fingerprint, or a time-based one-time password (TOTP) generated by an authentication app.

Enabling 2FA makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to your account, even if they manage to steal your password. Without access to your second factor, they won’t be able to log in.

Why Use Google Authenticator for Instagram 2FA?

While Instagram offers several 2FA methods, using an authentication app like Google Authenticator is the most secure option. SMS-based 2FA is vulnerable to SIM swapping attacks, where a hacker convinces your phone carrier to transfer your number to a SIM card they control. App-based 2FA is not susceptible to this type of attack.

Google Authenticator generates time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) that change every 30 seconds. When you log into Instagram, you’ll enter the 6-digit code from the app in addition to your password. Even if a hacker has your password, without the TOTP they can’t access your account.

How to Set Up Google Authenticator for Instagram

Setting up Google Authenticator for your Instagram account is a straightforward process:

  1. Download the Google Authenticator app on your phone from the App Store or Google Play Store
  2. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile
  3. Tap the three lines icon in the top right, then tap “Settings”
  4. Tap “Security”, then “Two-Factor Authentication”
  5. Select “Authentication App” as your preferred 2FA method
  6. Open the Google Authenticator app and tap the “+” icon
  7. Scan the QR code shown in the Instagram app or manually enter the setup key
  8. Enter the 6-digit code generated in the Google Authenticator app into Instagram to confirm the setup

That’s it! Your Instagram account is now protected with 2FA via Google Authenticator. Every time you log in, you’ll need to enter the TOTP from the app in addition to your password.

Backing Up Your Codes and Recovery Methods

One important thing to keep in mind when using Google Authenticator is to backup your codes and recovery methods. If you lose access to your phone or need to reset the app, you could be locked out of your accounts.

Instagram provides a set of backup codes when you enable 2FA that you can use to log in if you don’t have access to the Google Authenticator app. Make sure to save these codes in a secure location like a password manager.

You should also consider adding a backup phone number to your Instagram account that can be used to receive SMS codes as a last resort. While not as secure as app-based 2FA, it’s better than being completely locked out.

Keeping Your Account Secure

In addition to enabling 2FA, there are a few other steps you can take to keep your Instagram account secure:

  • Use a strong, unique password and never reuse passwords across accounts
  • Be cautious of phishing attempts and never enter your login credentials on suspicious websites
  • Regularly review your login activity in the Instagram app and log out of any unfamiliar sessions
  • Consider making your account private if you only want approved followers to see your posts
  • Report any suspicious activity or accounts to Instagram

By taking these precautions and enabling 2FA with Google Authenticator, you can significantly reduce the risk of your Instagram account being hacked or compromised.


What if I lose my phone with Google Authenticator installed?

If you lose your phone, you can use the backup codes provided by Instagram to log into your account. You should then disable 2FA and re-enable it with a new device as soon as possible. This is why it’s important to save your backup codes in a secure location.

Can I use Google Authenticator for multiple Instagram accounts?

Yes, you can use Google Authenticator to secure multiple Instagram accounts. Simply repeat the setup process for each account, scanning the unique QR code in the Instagram app.

What if I can’t scan the QR code in Google Authenticator?

If you’re having trouble scanning the QR code, you can manually enter the setup key provided by Instagram into Google Authenticator instead. The app will generate the same TOTP codes as if you had scanned the QR code.

Is Google Authenticator the only app I can use for Instagram 2FA?

No, there are several other authentication apps that are compatible with Instagram’s 2FA system, such as Authy, Microsoft Authenticator, and LastPass Authenticator. However, Google Authenticator is one of the most widely used and trusted options.

Do I still need a strong password if I enable 2FA?

Yes, absolutely! Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security, not a replacement for a strong password. You should still use a unique, complex password for your Instagram account even with 2FA enabled.