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How to Set Up a Smartphone for Two-Step Authentication

You can use a smartphone for your authentication device. You can receive your authentication passcode via an SMS text message or receive an automated phone call that requires you to press any key to authenticate. If you install Duo Mobile, you can also authenticate with a generated passcode or a push notification, which lets you to authenticate by just tapping a button.


  1. Open a browser and visit the Stanford Accounts Application.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. Click the Two-Step Auth tab.
  4. If this is the first time you are setting up your two-step authentication, click Enable.
    If you already have a device set up,  a page showing your two-step authentication devices displays. Click Add a device.
  5. On the Setup a new device page, click Smartphone.
  6. Enter your phone number, assign a name to this device, and click continue.
    Note: If your phone has an international number, click the international number? link to see whether two-step authentication supports phone calls and SMS text messages to that country.

    enter your phone number and assign a name to this device

  7. Next, you are presented with the opportunity to get Duo Mobile.
    • Recommended: Click Yes, I want to use Duo Mobile so you can activate push notifications and passcodes.
    • If you want to use only SMS text messages or phone calls for authentication, click No, maybe later. (You can install and activate Duo Mobile later.)

    choose whether to install Duo Mobile now
  8. If you choose to install Duo Mobile now, go to the app store for your device and search for Duo Mobile. (Clicking the icon for your platform takes you there.) After you have installed it, click I have the app.

    go to your device's app store and install Duo mobile
  9. Activate Duo mobile on your smartphone by choosing one of three options:
    • Open the Duo Mobile app on your smartphone and tap the "+" in the upper right corner. Then,  point your camera at the QR code displayed and tap Scan Barcode.
    • Visit the URL at the bottom of the page with your smartphone. The URL opens inside the Duo Mobile app.
    • Click Send the activation URL above to your smartphone as an SMS  text message and then tap the link in the message or copy it to your browser.

      **Do NOT use the following sample barcode to set up your phone.  It will not work. You will get a unique barcode when you set up your Smartphone starting from the Accounts app.**

    activate Duo Mobile on your smartphone
  10. Click continue when your account has been added to Duo Mobile.
  11. If you  want to make your smartphone your default device, click Yes, make <my device> my default. If you do not want your smartphone to be your default device, click No, I'll keep <my current default device> as my default.

    choose whether you want to make this smartphone your default device
  12. If you made your smartphone your default device, you need to choose a default method. All methods are available but the login page presents your default method first.
    Note: If you did not install and activate Duo Mobile, the only methods available are SMS text message and phone call.

    select a default method for your smartphone
  13. A message saying that you have successfully set up your device displays. Click Done to exit.

    confirmation that you have successfully set up you smartphone for two-step authentication


Up to four methods of authentication are available for smartphones. SMS text message and phone call are enabled automatically when you set up a smartphone. If you install Duo Mobile, push notifications and Duo-generated passcodes are also available.

  • Duo app - push notification (recommended) — a push notification is sent to the device, and you can review the request and tap Approve to authenticate. Internet or cellular access is required to use this method.
  • Duo app - passcode — authenticate using a passcode generated with Duo Mobile. The app runs on your device so you don't have to have cellular or internet access to authenticate (as you do with push notifications).
  • SMS text message — a text message with a seven-digit passcode is sent to your mobile phone.
  • Phone call — you receive an automated phone call  that requires you to press any key to authenticate.
Last modified September 27, 2016