Why Your Microsoft Authenticator QR Code Isn’t Reusable


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.

However, it is possible to set up the Authenticator app on multiple devices by scanning the QR code on all devices at the same time during the initial setup.

If you didn’t scan the QR code on your other device during the initial setup and need to add it now, you must go through the setup process again to generate a new QR code. Remember, for security, it’s important to ensure that any device you link to your work account is secure and that you trust it.

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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