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MFA Setup - New Phone

MFA and Your New Smartphone

Did you get a new smartphone?  If you use Microsoft Authenticator for Multifactor Authentication, it’s very easy to be locked out of your district account if your new phone does not have the Microsoft Authenticator app set up.  What’s worse, when you do set it up on your new phone, you’ll find that you’ll need your old phone to approve the MFA request!


Here’s what you can do to make it easier:

First, before you activate a new smartphone, we strongly recommend adding your mobile phone number as an additional authentication method (even if it’s just temporary).  When it comes time to set up Microsoft Authenticator on your new phone, and if you don’t have access to your old phone, you can opt to receive the text message when prompted to verify your sign-in.


To add your mobile number as an authentication method, follow these steps:

  • Go to  You will be prompted to approve your sign-in request.
  • Once signed in, click on Add sign-in method.
  • In the drop-down list, select Phone and click Add.
  • Enter your number and make sure the Text me a code radio button is checked.
  • Click Next.  It will text you a six-digit code.
  • Enter that code when prompted and click Next.
  • You’ll then see SMS verified.  Your phone was registered successfully.  Click Done.


When your new phone is activated, download the Microsoft Authenticator app.  There are other apps called Authenticator so be sure you’re getting the Microsoft Authenticator app.  Here’s how to set up Microsoft Authenticator as an authentication method on your new phone.

  • On a desktop or laptop computer, go to  You will likely be prompted to approve your sign-in request.  If you no longer have access to your old phone, you will need to click on I can’t use my Microsoft Authenticator app right now.  Select the option Text +X XXXXXXXX## that matches your mobile number and you’ll receive a text message.
  • Click on Add sign-in method.
  • In the drop-down list, select Authenticator app and click Add.
  • If you already installed the Authenticator app, click Next and Next again.
  • On your new phone, be sure to tap on Scan a QR code.  If you don’t see that option, add an account and be sure to select Work or School account, then tap on Scan a QR code.
  • Once the QR code is successfully scanned, click Next as needed.  It will prompt you to test the new authentication method.
  • Your new phone should receive the sign-in approval notification.  Approve it.
  • On your desktop or laptop, it’ll tell you that the notification was approved.  Click Next and/or Done as needed.  You’re all set.
  • You’ll now see Microsoft Authenticator and your new phone’s name listed as an authentication method.
  • This would also be a good time to delete your old phone from this list.  Find the Microsoft Authenticator item with your old phone’s name.  To the right, click on Delete and confirm as necessary.


There’s also a way to backup and restore your Microsoft Authenticator app which can make things easier.  This method may be more successful on Android smartphones.  In testing, we have not seen this method work very well on Apple devices.

  • Open the Microsoft Authenticator app
  • Tap on the menu button (three dots or lines) and select Settings
  • Toggle the Cloud Backup option to turn it on.
  • Add a recovery account if it doesn’t already prompt you to.  This must be a personal Microsoft account (not your district account).
  • On your new phone, download and install the Microsoft Authenticator app.
  • Instead of adding a new account or scanning a QR code, tap the option to ‘Restore from backup.’
  • Use your personal Microsoft account that you used for the backup.
  • Your backed up accounts will show up in Microsoft Authenticator, but may require additional steps to make each one functional.