Google 2-Step Verification - FAQ

What is Google 2-Step Verification?

When you enable Google 2-Step Verification, you add an extra layer of security to your account. It requires two elements to sign in: something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your phone). With 2-Step enabled, even if a hacker obtains your password, they will not be able to access your account because they will not have the second piece of information required to sign in. For more detailed information, see Google’s 2-Step Verification web page.


Why is the college requiring all users to enable 2-Step Verification?

To protect college staff accounts and keep secure information about college faculty, staff and students. Your college account has access to your personal information, the loss of which could result in identity theft. Protecting this information is of the utmost importance. 


Will I need to enter a code every time I login to my St. Olaf Google account?

No. The first time you sign in to your Google account on a computer it will require 2-step verification. After that, the computer (and browser you used) is remembered for approximately 30 days. After 30 days, you will be asked to login and/or verify your 2-step again. If you sign in from a new location, you will be required to go through the 2-step verification process.


When is it safe to check 'Remember me for 30 days' at sign-in?

You can check the “Remember me for 30 days” check box at sign-in on computers that you use regularly, including lab and classroom computers at St. Olaf. Do not check the “Remember me for 30 days” check box on shared public computer such as the one at a coffee shop.


Is it possible to receive an email reminder that the 30 days will soon expire?

This is not technically possible.


I don't have a smart phone, will it still work with Google 2-Step Verification?

Yes, basic cell phones can verify sign-ins by text message or voice call. In both cases you need a landline or cell coverage and you need to transcribe a six-digit code.


I cannot get a cell signal in some locations on campus. How can I use Google 2-Step Verification?

You can set up Google Prompt and/or Google Authenticator. These methods do not require a cell signal. You can also use a backup code. 


Where can I get the Google Authenticator program to run on my phone or computer?

Android: Google Authenticator in the Play Store

iOS: Google Authenticator in the App Store

As a Web Browser Plugin for Chrome:


I don't have a cell phone. How do I set up 2-Step Verification?

You can set up 2-Step Verification to use your office or your home phone (or both). When setting it up, you do need to be by a phone, though it doesn’t have to be a cell phone. Set up your office phone and then enter additional phone numbers based on where you check your email. You can also create backup codes for when you are not near a phone.


I'll be traveling abroad. What do I need to do?

There are numerous options for 2-Step Verification usage overseas. Options include: backup codes, Authenticator App, and landline or local cellphone in the country you’ll be traveling to. Visit the Google 2-Step Verification While Traveling page for more information. 


Is the cell phone setup tied to my cell phone number or to the device itself?

The text and phone call options are tied to the cell phone number and not to the device. Therefore, when replacing a cell phone, those two options will continue to work. If either the Authenticator or Google app were installed on the prior device, they would need to be set up again on the new cell phone.


How many methods should I set up?

Consider all the locations and devices from which you access your St. Olaf Google account and ensure you have a method set up for each. We recommend users set up Google Prompt and/or Google Authenticator, at least two phone numbers and a set of backup codes, just in case. Please make sure that your methods don’t rely on a single device i.e. your mobile phone (which can break, get lost, etc.). 


Do I need 2-Step Verification when I use Lab/Classroom/Podium computers?

Yes and no. When signing in to a lab or classroom computer you do not need a verification code. However, if you want to use GMail, Google Docs or Moodle from a lab or classroom you will need a verification code.


Will I need to use 2-Step Verification when accessing the VPN?



For what other services would you recommend using two-factor?

Services like email and password managers that control or can release information or access to another service. Services with sensitive or financial information. Things that have stored credit cards that can be used for purchases.


My email application does not support 2-Step Verification. What do I do?

Most current mail applications support Google’s 2-Step Verification. If yours does not, try upgrading to the latest version of the application. If you are still unable to access your email, you can set up an application-specific password. This is a one-time setup.


Why is it critical that the time be correct on my device that’s running the Google Authenticator program?

The 2-Step verification tokens are derived from the current time and change every minute. If the time on your phone differs by more than a minute your tokens will be guaranteed to be wrong. If the time off by less than a minute the codes will be wrong for some portion of each minute. On a cell phone it’s recommended that you set your phone to synchronize its time with the cellular network. On a computer, it’s recommended that you synchronize your computer’s time with a network time server (ntp server).


My question is not on this page. What do I do?

Google has a page listing common issues and resolutions. See Common issues with 2-Step Verification. If your question is still not answered, contact the IT Helpdesk at 507-786-3830 or fill out this form.


Article ID: 110030
Mon 6/15/20 2:48 PM
Thu 10/26/23 9:27 AM

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