How to use Google two-step authentication on BlackBerry 10

Google two-step authentication on BlackBerry 10
By Simon Sage on 15 Feb 2013 04:01 pm EST

OS 7 BlackBerry devices have a dedicated two-step authentication app built for Gmail, but there’s no such luck on BlackBerry 10. That doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the added security measures Google has to offer, though. Just as with many other apps on BB10, you can still get to what you need but it just takes a bit of added effort. Not to worry - we'll help you sort it out in no time at all.

First off, what is two-step authentication? This video sums it up, really.

Basically, this system enables apps to ask for a second password when available, and when it can’t, you can manually generate a revocable password for applications that use Google to sign in to them. Ultimately, this adds an added level of security to your Google account.


Google 2-step Authentication

Start the process of activating two-step authentication here. This will involve a few things, including sending a verification code via SMS to your BlackBerry, and generating new passwords for approved applications. This could be a tedious process for anyone who uses a lot of Google-connected apps regularly.


Google two-step authentication

Grab Gauth from BlackBerry World. From your 2-step authentication page, click on the set-up link for BlackBerry. This will provide a code which you enter into Gauth to finalize authentication. You’ll now be able to use Gauth to authorize new applications that make use of two-step authentication by using the one-time passcodes it generates. Verification codes can also be sent via SMS to secondary numbers, or printed on a hard copy in case you lose your BlackBerry. 


Google two-step authentication

Remember that part where we mentioned generating new passwords? At this point, you may have noticed that your BlackBerry has been nagging you for a new one for your Gmail account. Click on Manage Application-Specific Passwords from the 2-step authentication page, and scroll way down to the bottom. 

There’s a section here for generating passwords. First, type in the name to go with the password (in this case, something like “BlackBerry”). Then you’ll be served up a fresh password which you can now plunk into the BlackBerry prompt - don’t worry about including space. Also, you’ll only need to enter this password once, so don’t worry about trying to remember it.


While this method treats Gmail on BlackBerry as little more than another app with its own randomly-generated password, rather than leveraging the full two-step authentication method Gmail has to offer, it’s an added level of security that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. At the very least, you can use third-party BlackBerry 10 apps to enable access to new Google-authenticated services on the fly. 

Reader comments

How to use Google two-step authentication on BlackBerry 10


A funny coincidence: I have just beta-tested a native Google Auth app for BB10 a friend of mine is currently building. Stay tuned!

I hope it supports using the camera for the barcode. The converted Android Google Authenticator app I tried on my PB doesn't. Speaking of that, hopefully the app you mention will be available for PB too (OS 2)

I don't know if he's referring to my app Authomator, but I can assure you that it does.

Founder of Pulsecode and taab

Well, it means I have free weekend as I wanted to implement my own app. Is it native one? So Harmattan will be possible?

OK, so tell me how does Gauth actually work????

Do I need GAUTH or a program like this to have my BB get all of my messages after I get 2 step verification???

Greatly needed post...Thanks!

It should be made clear that the step " Authenticate Mobile app", including the download of the app "Gauth" is completely optional and is probably not the best way for most users.

If you install a mobile authenticater on your device, such as GAuth, and authorize it as outline above, GMail will ONLY use this method of authenticating new logins to Gmail. That is, it will no longer use the SMS method. I realize that this is a personal preference but it is easier for me to type in a code that just automatically appeared in my hub via SMS as opposed to opening an app and generating a key.
Also, with the SMS method you can send to another backup voice line if needed in case you lose your phone.

If you later switch from the app method, such as Gauth, back to SMS method, Gmail resets all your authorized device passwords and forces you to re-authenticate again. Learned the hard way.

I can see many time where a local installed authentication app is the better way but the article makes it sound like it is the only way when it is not.

Just a correction to the post above, If you don't have your phone with GAuth with you (eg your SIM is in a different phone) - you can still have a code sent via SMS to the phone number set up, and if you have no phone with you, and you have printed out the one-time password list, you can use that to authenticate yourself.