Reusable Microsoft Authenticator QR Codes


Have you ever wondered why the QR code used to link your Microsoft account to the Microsoft Authenticator app can’t be reused on another device?

Turns out Microsoft designed their 2 factor authentication QR code this way, with a one-time use policy.

Personally, I find this rather annoying and limiting in as far as permitting the use of multiple personal devices from providing authentication.

The good news is that there is a work around, albeit far from ideal.

In this article, I cover the reasons behind the single-use nature of Microsoft Authenticator QR codes and show you how to utilize it on more than one device.


Microsoft Authenticator QR Codes

The QR code for your Microsoft work account was designed to be used only once, for “additional security“.

When you set up the Microsoft Authenticator app, the QR code that is generated is part of a process to ensure that only you can access your account. It’s a way to link your account to the app on a specific device.

Because of this, if you wanted to use the Authenticator app on another device you would need to set it up all over again. This means having to generate a new QR code because each QR code is tied to the specific device you are setting up at that time.

So, it is possible to set up the Authenticator app on multiple devices! You just have to add the device.

You can do so using the following link (assuming you are already signed into your existing Microsoft account):

For detailed instructions on adding your work or school account to the Authenticator app, you can refer to the official Microsoft support page. If you encounter any issues or need further assistance, reach out to me and I will assist you with the setup process if needed.



I hope my article on why you can’t reuse your Microsoft Account 2FA QR code and how to work around it has been helpful to you. I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions regarding this article.

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Editors Note:

  • This article was first published on March 8th, 2023 and was revised on May 23rd, 2024 to include a link to the security info section of a users Microsoft Account.