Instagram is finally widely rolling out a feature that lets users utilise a third-party authenticator app to log into their account. This new form of two-factor authentication, Instagram says, makes it easier and safer for you to securely log into the app. It essentially gives users more options in which they can secure their account with a second factor - an authenticator app - thus ensuring that even users without a phone number can enable two-factor authentication. Support for third-party authenticator apps was announced back in August, with a rollout in batches, and now it is finally available for more users.
Two-factor authentication is considered a gold standard of security for many reasons. Even if someone were to guess your password or just in case it was leaked as part of a hack, no one can log in to your account without physical access to your second-factor device. In the case of Instagram, it previously required you to submit your phone number to receive a six-digit code on your associated phone via text message. However, now, when you sign up for two-factor authentication, Instagram will walk you through the process explaining how it works and offer you the option of using an authentication app such as Google Authenticator to generate login codes, rather than just the option of a text message.
In order to enable two-factor authentication, log in to your Instagram account and go to the Settings menu and then choose Two-Factor Authentication. Once there, select Authentication App as your preferred form of authentication. In case your smartphone already has an authentication app installed, Instagram will automatically find the app and send a login code to it.
Following this, go to the app, retrieve the code and enter it on Instagram to automatically turn on the two-factor authentication. If there is no app installed, Instagram will redirect you the App Store or Google Play Store to download the authenticator app of your choice. By default, it leads you to the Google Authenticator app. After installing the app, go back to Instagram to continue setting up your two-factor authentication. Notably, the feature is currently available in the version 126.96.36.199.101 beta of the Instagram app. You will either have to become a beta tester for the app or wait till the company rolls out an update for all users. Android Police, which first reported the rollout, however notes that the feature may be enabled by a server-side update.