Google 2-Step Verification

Google 2-Step Verification is a process for adding an extra level of security to your email. It drastically reduces the chances of having the personal information in your Google Account stolen by someone else as they would also require your phone to gain access.

The way it works

It provides an extra layer of security to your google account by requesting an extra access code that is sent to your phone. When signing up you will be able to register certain computers as trusted computers. These computers will not require an access code when you log into your email. However if the computer is not trusted, then Google will send a code to your phone via txt for you to enter when you log into your email.

Reasons for using

Google 2-Step Verification does not work when you are on campus as the University already has on-campus security, but will sometimes ask for a security code when off campus, sometimes even when on a trusted computer. The University uses 2-Step Authentication to allow application specific passwords.

Google 2-Step Verification is also useful for managing email on all your mobile devices and tablets. Rather than having to update all your email apps with the new password each time you change it, 2-Step Verification allows you to setup and enter a one-time password that will never need to be changed and will keep your apps updated with your latest password.

Learn More

2-step verification why you need it, how it works and how it protects you.

Password Security and 2 Factor Authentication - This page also has a video clip on how to set it up (as below) for those who prefer verbal instructions.


You can set-up Google 2-step Verification by following these instructions;

  1. Log in to your google web mail inbox
  2. From your inbox, you will need to go to the top-right corner and select the profile image icon (or your email address). This will bring up a list of options

    G Add Account
  3. Select the blue My Account link near the top, NOT the Add Account button at the bottom of the box
  4. This will take you to the following screen, select Sign-in & Security

    Gmail Account 2
  5. On the following page select 2-Step Verification

    This is also where you would normally check to see if it has already been set up for the user. If it has, you will not need to go through the setup process and can skip to the Mobile Apps Management Section.

    Gmail Account 3
  6. Select the Start Setup button on the right
    Gmail Account 4
  7. Select the Flag Icon and change the country to New Zealand, then enter your chosen cell phone number you would like to receive the verification txts toG Setup Phone
  8. If you are currently on your primary computer that you access email from, tick Trust this computer and select Next
  9. The final screen will confirm you wish to turn on 2-Step Verification, select Confirm.

    If 2-Step Verification has been on your account in the past, but been turned off. When you go through the setup process again, you may be asked to reconnect your apps and devices.

    G Reconnect
  10. If you select Reconnect my apps you can continue from Step 2 in the Mobile Apps Management section.

Mobile Apps Management

Once 2-Step Verification is activated on an account, users can establish application specific passwords. These passwords are a one off password that ties your application into your account. This is extremely useful for users who change their passwords regularly. This will mean you do not have to update all the applications linked to your account with a new password each time it changes.

To set up Application Specific Passwords do the following;

  1. Follow the first few steps from the setup process above till you see the screen below.
  2. Select App-specific passwords and select Manage Application Specific passwords
    G Reconnect 2
  3. Select App and Select Device and link Generate.
    This will take you to a page with a password, specific to your phone or app you are attempting to setup. You will use this password to login to your Gmail application on your mobile device instead of your regular password.
    Gmail Account 6

    If the app or device is not selected you can select Other and specify a specific name for the device.

    Gmail Account 7
  4. When you return to manage application specific passwords you should now see at the bottom of the page a list of authorized mobile devices. If you no longer have a device (either lost or replaced) then select Revoke to remove the access to that device.
  5. For each new device you will have to generate a new password

    Gmail Account 8

Note: Once you have logged in using the generated password, you Do Not need to update your password every time you change it. 2-Step Verification will do this automatically. If you do put your new password into the application, you will have to revoke access to your device and generate a new password to login with.

After activation, Google will sometimes ask for a back-up number. This may appear straight away or next time you go to generate a new password. This is optional so you can skip this if you wish.

Backup Options

Google also has the functionality to provide backup if you lose your phone or do not have a backup phone selected.

Gmail Account 9

You can Add a phone number to be your backup phone in case your primary phone is unavailable to receive codes through text or a phone call.

Alternatively, you can generate and print or download a series of Backup Codes. These backup codes are available for 1 use only and you tick them off once used. This is for use when you do not have a backup phone available and need to access your account.


Have you used email on your mobile device before? No?

  • Begin new phone setup process. Download Gmail app from the app/play store, setup 2-Step Verification and generate a password for the app.

Are you using the default mail app or the gmail app? 

  • Gmail app is preferred as it is simpler to setup and use. Newer smart phones allow a google account to be sync upon setup. Check whether you are using this form of sync with the default email app.

Is your phone currently connected to the internet? Is it connected to Eduroam?

  • This will not work on the visitor/guest 'Waikato' wireless network or Lightwire for students.
  • Did you change your password recently? 'Forget' the network and log in with your new password.

Have you changed your password recently?

  • If Yes, update Eduroam connection by forgetting network and re-connecting to Eduroam with current credentials
  • If No, check with Service Desk for other issues.

Do you have 2-Step Verification on your phone?

  • If Yes, make sure you have not tried to update your password manually on your application. If you have, you will need to revoke the password in Google App-specific passwords and generate a new one
  • If No, set-up 2-Step Verification and generate app-specific password. You do not need to update the password when it is next changed, 2-Step Authentication will do this
  • Don't know? Check through gmail inbox to see whether it is enabled or not
  • Not connecting to Wireless? Check password/account still valid, using the right credentials.

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