A 20 second optimization for Android security that is smarter and easier to use

A 20 second optimization for Android security that is smarter and easier to use

Points Highlighted:

  • The one problem with two-factor authentication, or 2FA for short, is that it can be a bit of a pain in the patootie (to use the technical term) in practice. The whole point of 2FA is that it requires a second step to sign into any account where it’s active. In many cases, that step is a single-use code that’s generated by a special app and then entered into the sign-in screen. And that typically means you have to stop what you’re doing, go back to your home screen, open your app drawer, and then open your 2FA code-generating app to get the necessary code and copy it over into whatever form you’re facing.

  • And guess what? The best way to protect yourself, aside from that always-advisable juicy dollop of common sense, is to secure every account possible with both a strong, unique password and the extra layer of protection that’s two-factor authentication. That’s especially important for your Google account, but the same steps are advisable for any account where two-factor auth is an option.

[Want even more advanced Android knowledge? Check out my free Android Shortcut Supercourse to learn tons of time-saving tricks for your phone.] That’s a hassle, to say the least. But hang on, my efficiency-adoring amigo, for there is a better way. The Android security shortcut you’ll wonder how you lived without. It occurred to me the other day that I open Authy, my two-factor authentication code-generating app of choice on Android, all the freakin’ time. I have every account where it’s possible secured with 2FA, and that means I’m constantly doing the exact phone-hoppin’ dance we just described — every single time I’m signing into one of those services.

And here’s what I realized: With about 20 seconds of setup, it’s possible to put an app like Authy — or any other app you rely on constantly and want fast access to from anywhere, without having to do that silly ol’ dance — into your Android device’s Quick Settings panel.

So I thought to myself: “Well, goodness gracious, Gertrude, there’s got to be a smarter way to handle this.” Then I thought: “Stop calling me Gertrude, you flat-faced goober. Also, I could really go for some Jujyfruit right about now.” But then I forced myself to put both sweet treats and self-conflict out of mind and focus firmly on the task at hand.

And then, you can get to the app anytime simply by swiping down once from the top of the screen and tapping its icon in that area. The secret resides in a simple little app called Shortcutter. So install that bad boy on your phone, open it up, and march your way through the initial setup screens.

Once you reach the app’s main screen, tap “Pull-Down” followed by “Custom Tiles.” Next, tap the line that says “Custom Tile 1” and then select “Application” and choose Authy (or whatever app you want to use for this purpose) from the list. Tap the same line again, select “Rename,” and change its name to “Authy” (or “Schmauthy,” “Gabourey Sidibe,” or anything else you like, really). At that point, all that’s left is to find your freshly birthed tile within Android’s Quick Settings area and drag it up into an active position. Four fast steps will make that happen:

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