PC Doctor November 5, 2022

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Cartoon tablet, laptop and cellphone to accompany the news item.

Dear PC Doctor:

I heard that Google is going to start requiring two-factor authentication soon in order to log into Gmail. What does that mean? Will I have to give Google my phone number? Can I opt out? When is this happening?


Dear Merle:

Two factor authentication is like asking for ID; when you go to log into your Gmail account, Google is going to require another way to prove that it’s you and not someone else trying to get into your account. You would type in your email address and password, and then some second piece of information. That second piece of information is something that Google will send you, like a code texted to your cell phone or to your second email account.

For this to work, you’ll need to add your cell phone number and/or a secondary email address to your Google account. To do this, log into your Google account. Go to Settings, and then Accounts. Click on Change Account Settings: Google Account Settings. On the left hand side of your screen, look for Security. Scroll down to Signing in to Google and follow the instructions on screen.

Currently, it is still possible to opt out of two factor authentication. You do not have to add that additional information to your Google account. I have seen many tech journalism articles announcing that mandatory two factor authentication is coming, but I could find nothing confirming that on the Google blog (https://blog.google/) or on any other official Google documentation. Either way, it’s a security feature that you might want to think about using.

Until next time,
Happy computing!
PC Doctor

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