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Google's support page at http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=185839 states that if I set up two-factor authentication from my Android device, it will offer me a chance to install Google Authenticator and set two-factor authentication up without needing to give a phone number.

However, when I try this on my Nexus 7, it tells me to use a computer — and that only offers me options of an SMS or a voice call, both of which require me to give Google my phone number.

I've run this account since gmail.com was launched without a phone number attached, and I don't want to give my number to one of the world's largest advertising companies!

The gmail account is not my primary email account, and nothing important or secret goes through it, but I still don't want it getting hijacked.

Is there a way around this that doesn't involve spending money on burner SIMs? (nb: I'm not in the US, so please don't suggest Google Voice :)

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no, it is not possible under any circumstances. –  user60756 Feb 16 at 0:50
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Google requires a cellphone number so that they can send an authentication code to the number you gave them so you can still login to i.e. Gmail. So please note that the device with the Authenticator app does not have to be the device matching the number you gave.

In short: the phonenumber simply acts as a back-up medium so you can still login if you've lost the device with the app.

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It doesn't cover those of us who don't want to give Google a phone number at all, though. If I've lost the Authenticator-enabled device, that's what the backup email address is for. –  John Yeates Apr 19 '13 at 13:28
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