MFA: Adding Backup Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Methods


This article provides instructions for adding backup Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) verification methods for your Microsoft M365 account.  See Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for M365 if you need to set up MFA for M365 for the first time.  For Password Recovery methods (as opposed to MFA verification), also see our article on Updating Security Info for password recovery and MFA verification .

Please install the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device before you begin the set up steps below.  You will find step-by-step instructions in the article on Installing the Microsoft Authenticator App

For an overview, we recommend this short video of the entire process, also available at .




Task: To add backup authentication methods for MFA for M365



Step 1 - In a web browser, go to:  and sign in if prompted.

Step 2 - Click on UPDATE INFO in the Security info tile or click Security info in the left navigation bar. Sign in or MFA again if prompted.

Security info box with "UPDATE INFO" link


Step 3 - You will see a list of your existing MFA methods.  To add a new method, click Add sign-in method.

Security info with list of MFA sign-in methods and link to "Add sign-in method"


Step 4 - Select the method you want from the Choose a method drop down, then follow on-screen prompts to add that particular method. 

Example: Choose other method(s) for Microsoft MFA.  This list will vary, depending on which methods you have already set up as seen in the list in Step 3 above.

 Choose a method drop down list

Possible methods include:

  • Call my authentication phone
  • Text a code to my authentication phone
  • Call my alternate (office, home, etc.) phone
  • Notify me through the authenticator mobile app 
  • Use verification code from the authenticator mobile app
  • Use a security key verification code from an app or token - this includes modern YubiKeys

See this article which explains how each MFA method behaves as you login to resources such as email or Canvas using Microsoft login: Choosing a preferred method of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for M365.

Step 5 - Repeat from Step 3 above to add as many back up methods as you desire.  We strongly recommend that you set up the authenticator mobile app (which can work even when your mobile device has not internet, phone, or cell service), plus at least one phone for phone call and/or SMS text.



You have multiple MFA methods available as backup in case you need them when signing into services through the Microsoft M365 login process.

Note: If you want to change which method is your default, click the Change link next to the Default method.  Select the one you prefer from the list of your MFA methods.  You can also click the links to Change or Delete certain methods if desired.


Further Readings

MFA: Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for M365

MFA: Choosing a preferred method of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for M365

MFA: Installing the Microsoft Authenticator App

MFA: Using Authenticator App without Cell Service

MFA: Setting up Authenticator App on a new phone

MFA: Setting up YubiKey for Microsoft Authentication

MyAccount: Updating Security Info for password recovery and MFA verification


Need additional help?

Visit the Technology Help Desk Support page to locate your local campus contact information or to submit an online technology support request.  For password issues you must call or visit the Help Desk in person.  


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Article ID: 4579
Wed 1/18/23 1:52 PM
Fri 1/5/24 12:28 PM
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