Authy vs 2FAS: Which Should You Choose?

Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 03:47 am

The Authy logo on a yellow background is on the left hand side of the image and the 2FAS logo on a blue background is on the right hand side. There is a "VS" sign that is blue and yellow in between the two logos.
Image made by Safe Not Scammed using Canva.

Authy is one of the most well-known authenticator apps out there. 2FAS is a newer, open source app that’s growing in popularity. So how do you know which one is right for you? To help you decide, I’ll compare the two authenticators in the following areas: compatibility, privacy, backups, import and export, security incidents and customization. Let’s dig in!

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Table of contents

Compatibility

Both Authy and 2FAS have mobile apps available for Android and iOS. However, Authy’s Android app is not compatible with Chromebooks, while 2FAS’s app is.

A search on the Google Play Store on my Chromebook gives the following result: "Twilio Authy Authenticator by Authy isn't available on Google Play on this device."
Screenshot by Safe Not Scammed of the result of searching the Google Play Store for “authy” on a Chromebook. Image edited in Canva.

While Authy has apps for Windows, Mac and Linux, these will reach end of life in August 2024. And although Authy currently works with Apple Watch, this is not officially supported, so “users should not expect the same level of experience or dedicated support that is provided for the official list of supported apps.”

UI for 2FAS's browser extension:

2FAS Browser Extension Settings

This Browser's Nickname:

Chrome on Chrome OS SAVE

Paired Devices
Samsung SM-G781U December 30, 2023 Android Disconnect

Add another device
Screenshot of the settings for 2FAS’s browser extension, edited in Canva. Once paired with the mobile app, the browser extension will send a push notification to your mobile device when you need to enter a 2FA code. If you accept the push notification, 2FAS will fill in the 2FA code for you in your browser. Pretty cool!

2FAS does not have desktop apps, but it does have a browser extension that makes it easy to enter your 2FA codes on a desktop device. It does not currently support Apple Watch, but that is on the roadmap for the future.

Winner: 2FAS. While Authy used to have great multisystem support, it is now focusing only on its mobile apps. This puts it slightly behind 2FAS, which offers a browser extension to make entering 2FA codes easier on a computer.

Privacy

To sign up for Authy, you need to provide both your phone number and your email address. That’s a lot of personal information, so if you’re privacy conscious, it might be a deal breaker.

Authy UI:
My account:
Cellphone Number: Redacted
Email: Redacted
App Protection
Authy ID: Redacted
Authy requires you to hand over your personal information and create an account. Screenshot edited in Canva.

2FAS does not require you to hand over your personal details to start using the app. However, to use the automated backup and sync feature, you’ll need to set it up with iCloud or Google Drive.

2FAS wants to access your Google Account.
This will allow 2FAS to:
See, create, and delete its own configuration data in your Google Drive.
Associate you with your personal info on Google
See your primary Google Account email address
This message displayed while setting up backup with Google Drive in 2FAS. Screenshot edited in Canva.

When I set up cloud backup with my Google account, I had to allow 2FAS to see my Gmail address and associate me with my personal information on Google. However, using the cloud backup feature is optional, so you can keep your information private by not enabling it.

Winner: 2FAS for not requiring an email or phone number to use the app.

Backups and sync

Both Authy and 2FAS allow you to make cloud backups of your 2FA codes, meaning you can easily restore them if something happens to your phone. Both apps keep your codes secure in the cloud by using end-to-end encryption.

Authy uses its own cloud to store your data whereas 2FAS uses iCloud or Google Drive, depending on whether you are on iOS or Android, respectively. This means Authy can sync your codes cross-platform between your iOS and Android devices, while 2FAS cannot. However, you can copy your 2FA codes from your Android device to your iOS one, or vice versa, by making use of 2FAS’s export and import functions.

2FAS Backup
Google Drive
Google Drive sync (disabled)
Synchronization settings
Local file
Import file
Export to file
Use File Backup for offline backup of your tokens.
2FAS gives you the option of making a local backup via its “export to file” feature. Screenshot edited in Canva.

2FAS’s export feature allows you to make local backups by exporting your 2FA codes as a .2fas file. You can set a passcode to keep the file secure and, for example, transfer it from your phone to a USB drive. If you switch from Android to Apple, or vice versa, you then just need to install 2FAS on your new device, import your backup, and you’ll be ready to go.

Authy, unfortunately, does not allow you to export your 2FA codes at all. This means you have to rely on Authy’s own cloud service for backups, which you may not feel comfortable doing. 

Winner: While Authy and 2FAS both offer convenient cloud backup options, only 2FAS allows you to export your 2FA codes, making it the winner.

Viewing secret keys

Once you’ve linked your online accounts to Authy, there’s no way to view the secret keys used to generate your 2FA codes. This means there is no easy way to switch to another authenticator app if you decide Authy is not for you.

If you want to move to another app, you’ll need to turn off 2FA for each account linked with Authy and then set it up again with a new authenticator app. That can take a lot of time if you have a lot of accounts!

Customization UI in 2FAS:
Customize service
Service information
Service name
Twitter
Secret key
REDACTED
Additional info
@more2fatesting
In 2FAS, long click on your 2FA code, select “edit” and you’ll be able to view the Secret Key for that service. Screenshot edited in Canva.

2FAS, however, allows you to view the secret keys that are used to generate your 2FA codes. This means that if you ever want to switch to a different authenticator, you can just copy the secret keys over to get your codes set up again.

Winner: 2FAS for letting you access your secret keys.

Security incidents

Twilio, Authy’s parent company, was hacked in 2022. As a result, the hackers were able to gain access to the Authy accounts of 93 users and register an additional device, potentially giving them access to the user’s 2FA codes. 

To my knowledge, 2FAS has suffered no security incidents. Its code is also open source, meaning anyone can inspect it for themselves on GitHub. This (hopefully!) means any vulnerabilities get found and fixed faster than they would if the app was closed source, like Authy.

Winner: 2FAS for not having any security breaches and for being open source.

Customization

Authy has relatively few customization options. You can choose between light and dark mode and have your 2FA codes displayed in a list or a grid, but that’s pretty much it.

Two phones are displayed, one showing Authy in "Grid mode" which displays one 2FA code and lists the other accounts in a grid below. The other shows Authy in "List mode", which gives a list of accounts and does not show any 2FA codes.
On the phone on the left, Authy is in grid mode, while on the phone on the right it is in list mode. Photo by Rebecca Lea Morris and edited in Canva.

2FAS has more extensive options, though it lacks Authy’s grid mode. Importantly, some of these options can make the app much more convenient to use. For example, you can set up the app so that the next code displays shortly before the current one expires, which is very handy.

2FAS's main interface. Example of a 2FA code with the next code showing:
2FAS
477 278 (shown in large red type)
946 532 (shown beneath in smaller white type)
If you turn on the “show next token” option in 2FAS, it will display the next 2FA code when the current one is nearly expiring. Screenshot edited in Canva.

You can also choose to hide your 2FA codes until they are tapped, in case you are worried about nosy people looking over your shoulder. And if you have a lot of codes, you can try out the compact mode to fit more on the screen.

You can also turn on active search mode, so that as soon as you open the app, your cursor is in the search box. Finally, 2FAS allows you to organize your codes into groups, which makes it easier to find the one you need quickly. 

Winner: 2FAS for its convenient customization options.

Final thoughts

While Authy is a reputable and reliable authenticator app, in my opinion 2FAS outperforms it in almost every way. There are, however, two circumstances in which you may prefer Authy over 2FAS.

First, if you need your 2FA codes to sync between Android and iOS devices, then Authy is the app for you as 2FAS cannot do this.

Second, if you want to use an authenticator on your Apple Watch, you might prefer Authy as it has (unofficial) Apple Watch support. 2FAS plans to support Apple Watch in the future, however there does not appear to be a timeline for it yet.

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