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This question is not about using the YouTube phone app or about the app at all. It is about general login to one's Gmail account via a desktop browser, and avoiding Google's use of the YouTube app on one's phone for 2FA.

Up until about 1 week ago, when I log into gmail from a desktop browser, I would sometimes be required to enter a 6-digit code that was texted to my phone. My iPhone could be out of reach, but I'd see the code on the notification, punch it into the desktop browser, and job done.

Starting about 2 weeks ago, it stopped doing that and instead asked me to fire up the YouTube app on my phone for 2FA. I've had YouTube installed on my phone for about 3 weeks. I often have a corded heating pad to sooth age-related ailments, so I have to unharness my self from that, carefully push back the folding chair, get up to get my phone, unplug it from its charging cord, which is kind of short, log into the phone, fire up the app, wait for it to do its startup routine, then reverse all of the above.

By the time I'm staring at the desktop browser again, I forget why I was trying to log into Gmail. As is typical for many people, that login is just one step of one thing I was doing, among multiple things I was multi-tasking between. Obviously, I would like to revert back to the more efficient 6-digit code that is texted to the phone. As described in "Troubleshooting" below, this is what I have set up in my Gmail profile settings for Security.

How can I ensure that this setting is followed?


Troubleshooting

I carefully looked at my Gmail account's "Security" settings. The 2FA shows only that "Voice or text message...Verification codes are sent by text message." Nothing about having me fire up the YouTube app instead, and at no time do I recall even seeing the latter offered as an option.

I searched through the settings for the YouTube app on the iPhone, but can find no settings that might allow my Gmail account settings for 2FA to be overridden.

I have already tried to ask this question here.

This question was closed based on similarity with this and this question. However, they are completely unrelated. The first is about how to access one's Google account, which I can do, and how to set up 2FA, which I've already set up. The second is about bypassing Google's login verification screen, which is completely unrelated to my question.

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  • Welcome to Web Applications. If the linked questions doesn't help you, please bear in mind that troubleshooting like questions are off-topic on this site. Briefly describe the problem, show what you have tried, share what you found in this site, the Gmail Help Center and add a summary of the question that you have linked as questions on this site should be self contained including why it didn't meet your needs. Apr 10, 2023 at 14:31
  • I don't know how the two questions cited for closing this question can be considered similar. I've described the differences under "Troubleshooting". Apr 10, 2023 at 16:35
  • Thank you for re-opening the question based on my elaborations. Apr 10, 2023 at 17:23

1 Answer 1

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Take comfort in the fact that you are not the first or the only one to "suffer" from this behavior.

Google support 1, Google support 2, Google Nest support, Reddit 1, Reddit 2, Reddit 3 (the earliest complaint I found was from June 2021).

So Google response is Prompts like this are intended to be easier than entering a verification code to log in.

And I would like to add in addition to the quote above, that push messages are more secure than SMS, as history can tell us (e.g 1, e.g. 2).

So if your goal is to achieve secure 2FA and at the same time not have to go to your phone every time you log in to a system (not necessary only your Google Account), you can use other RSA based solutions like YubiKey or even Google's Titan Security Key.

And if that's not something you want to purchase, you can always delete the YouTube app or disable the app's background data permission, which will force Google's backend to use a different method to authenticate you.

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  • As I described in my posted question, it is far from easier. Fortunately, the user is now given the option of having a 6-digit code sent to one's phone via SMS. Thanks goodness!! Dec 5, 2023 at 18:56
  • Argh. I followed up on your suggestion that SMS is not safe. What an eye opener. I will reconsider its use, but really, it's only Google that provides the supposedly better alternative of prompting via the YouTube app on my phone. So the most important verifications (e.g., by banks) are still done via SMS. Dec 5, 2023 at 18:59
  • My bank does not use SMS for its app, the only use of SMS I have noticed is in the identification process at the start of a scheduled meeting with a bank specialist 🤷‍♂️ Dec 13, 2023 at 3:53

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