Two-factor authentication is a simple and effective security measure, present across platforms, from banks to social networks.
However, if your phone is a part of the verification process and you lose it, getting back into an account can be tricky. But it isn’t impossible.
Two-factor authentication on Facebook—or Meta—is the same. It’s easy to activate and disable if you can log in. You can also take steps to avoid locking yourself out, but even if you do, there are ways to jump straight into your profile.
Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook’s two-factor authentication system.
What Is Two-Factor Authentication and Why Have It on Facebook?
Today, there are actually five factors of authentication that cybersecurity systems use to verify someone’s identity, the first three being the most popular:
- Something you have.
- Something you know.
- Something you are.
- Somewhere you are.
- Something you do.
So, what is two-factor authentication? It’s a security process that uses two of these five factors.
It typically asks for a password you know and a code sent to a device you own. If that’s your phone, you’ll get the code via text message or app.
Be careful about the difference between two-factor authentication and two-step verification. The latter actually asks for two steps of the same factor. For example, it can ask for a password and the answer to a security question.
Now, why does Facebook even have two-factor authentication? Unfortunately, it’s because cybercriminals love to impersonate other people on Facebook. And stealing a user’s password to access their profile is one way to do that.
So, extra security measures are there to protect you and your contacts.
How to Ensure You Don’t Lock Yourself Out With Two-Factor Authentication on Facebook
It only takes a few clicks to set up and use Facebook’s two-factor authentication, but pay special attention to your various options.
First off, go to Settings and Privacy > Settings > Security and Login > Two-factor authentication on your browser-based Facebook account. You’ll find a list of your authorized devices where you won’t need to use a login code. It’s worth checking these and adding a second phone, for example.
As soon as you set up your two-factor authentication measure, you can also choose backup methods in case you lose your phone or just change devices.
Your options are:
- Authentication app.
- Security key.
- Recovery codes.
Click Set Up next to the method you prefer and keep your key or codes in a safe place. You can always come back and change your settings.
How to Disable Two-Factor Authentication on Facebook Without Your Phone
Assuming you did set up a back-up method and you can log in to your Facebook account via a browser or different device, go back to your Settings.
Click anywhere in the Use two-factor authentication field to open the activated feature’s settings, where you can edit your security and back-up methods.
To turn off Facebook’s two-factor authentication, simply click the Turn off button. You’ll need to confirm your choice once more before the feature is disabled.
But what do you do if you don’t have a back-up method? There’s no reason to panic because Facebook and a few other tricks have you covered.
How to Bypass Two-Factor Authentication on Facebook When Locked Out
So, your phone is lost or broken, and you didn’t set up a back-up method, but you need to get through your two-factor authentication.
While Facebook’s Help Centre does give some tips, you may need a bit more troubleshooting detail.
Here are the best ways to log in without your phone and without your security measures getting in the way.
1. Log In Through a Recognized Device or Location
If you regularly use Facebook on your computer, tablet, and phone, especially with your two-factor authentication active, the app will recognize these devices and locations. This is why you should check that list, now and then.
Go onto any of your other recognized devices, and Facebook will log you in automatically. Then, follow the steps above to disable your two-factor authentication or change its settings.
2. Provide an Email Address and Form of ID
This process can take longer than the rest, but it’s an official method to log in without your phone.
After you give your password and Facebook asks for the code it sent to your device—which you don’t have anymore—go straight to the Didn’t receive a code? tab at the bottom.
A window opens that offers the following choices:
- Approve from another device.
- Use text message.
- Other options.
You want the last section, which will start a different process to confirm your identity. On there, click the Get More Help button.
The next window informs you that you will be providing an email address and government-issued ID. You get 13 options for the latter, including:
- Driving license.
- National ID card.
- Marriage certificate.
- Voter ID card.
All you do is take a picture of your ID using your webcam and submit it for review, which should take no more than two days to complete. If your details check out, Facebook will give you access to your account.
3. Set Up and Use Trusted Contacts
Facebook has another handy feature that helps you log in when you’re locked out, but you need to set it up first.
In the same menu that has the Two-factor authentication field, you’ll find your Setting up extra security options. Under that, select Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you are locked out.
After choosing your contacts, any time you have trouble accessing your account, one of your friends can send you a log in code. Perfect for bypassing two-factor authentication.
4. Change Your Password
There are many ways to recover your Facebook account when you can’t log in, but this is the simplest. To access your Facebook account without your phone and despite its two-factor authentication, just change your password.
When asked for it, click the Forgotten password? tab instead and confirm your email address, so Facebook can send you a code to reset your password.
As soon as you do that, Facebook should automatically log you in and you can make any changes you need to your two-factor authentication settings.
Get to Know Why User Authentication Is Important
Two-factor authentication on Facebook can be a hassle, but it’s a great way to keep hackers at bay. If you set it up carefully, using it will become second nature and you won’t lock yourself out if you lose your phone.
That said, it’s a good idea to learn more about processes that verify users’ identities, whether on Facebook or elsewhere. What goes on in the background is complex, but the more you understand, the easier it’ll be to make the right decisions when it comes to your cybersecurity.
What Is User Authentication and How Does It Work?
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