MFA: Setting up the Microsoft Authenticator App using Mobile Phone/Device only


This article explains how to set up the FREE Microsoft Authenticator app for multi-factor authentication (MFA) for M365 using only your mobile phone or mobile device.  Use these instructions if you want to add the Authenticator mobile app but do not have access to a computer.

Warning: Be sure you select the "Microsoft Authenticator" app provided by the Microsoft Corporation for FREE.  Several other apps with similar names have similar icons but are not the trusted, free Microsoft app.

 Icon for the Microsoft Authenticator app provided by the Microsoft CorporationThis is a FREE app - do not pay for an app for this purpose.


Task: To add the FREE Microsoft Authenticator app as an MFA method using only a mobile phone or mobile device.



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

Step 2 - Tap on UPDATE INFO in the Security info tile. 

Security Info screen on mobile phone with box around "UPDATE INFO" link


Step 3 - On the Security info page, tap on the + sign to Add sign-in method


Step 4 - In the Add a method box, tap on the Choose a method menu.


Step 5 - From the Pop-out menu choose Authenticator app


Step 6 - In the Add a method box, tap on Add


Step 7 - Tap on Download now if the Microsoft Authenticator application is not already installed. Follow the steps to install the app. Otherwise, if the app is already installed, skip to step 8.


Step 8 - Return to the browser page shown in step 7. Tap Next.


Step 9 - Tap on Pair your account to the app by clicking this link, then tap Open if prompted.


Step 10 - Tap Next. This should prompt for approval of a push notification


Step 11 - Once approved, a screen will appear showing the notification was approved. Tap Next to return to the Security info page. You're all set and can now use the Microsoft Authenticator app for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).  


Step 12 - We strongly recommend that you also set up one or more backup methods to use if your primary method is not available.  Follow on-screen prompts to add as many back up methods as you desire from the Choose a method drop down (Step 3 above).  See detailed instructions here - MFA: Adding Backup Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Methods .

Example: Choose other method(s) for Microsoft MFA

 Choose a method drop down list

Possible methods include:

  • Call my authentication phone
  • Text a code to my authentication phone
  • Call my office phone
  • Notify me through a mobile app (as just set up above)
  • Use verification code from 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.



Users who have set up Multi factor Authentication for M365 will be prompted to MFA periodically when signing into Email, Teams, OneDrive sync, and other M365 tools on both their computers and their mobile devices. As other applications (such as Zoom, Kaltura, and Canvas) move into the Seamless Single Sign-On (SSO) environment, users may be prompted to MFA when logging into those applications as well.


Further Readings

MFA: Multi-factor Authentication and USNH Systems

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

MFA: Installing the Microsoft Authenticator App

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

MFA: Using Authenticator App without Cell Service

MFA: Setting up Authenticator on a new phone


MFA: Setting up Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) for M365 - using a computer (recommended method)

Seamless Single Sign-On (SSO) Project Information


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: 4580
Thu 1/19/23 4:16 PM
Fri 1/5/24 7:09 PM
Applicable Institution(s):
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)
USNH System Office