Enabling two step verification on your Microsoft Account creates a password recovery code that you’ll need to use if you ever need to recover your Microsoft Account password. Enabling two step verification on your account will also require you to change the password that you use on your phone to a unique security code, also referred to as an app password. You will no longer be able to use the password that you use to log into your account on a computer as the password on your phone (or some of your other devices).
You can read more about Microsoft’s Two Step Verification in this article entitled, “Microsoft Account Gets More Secure, that was posted to Microsoft’s Official Blog on April 17, 2013.
How to Enable Two Step Verification on your Microsoft Account
From a computer, click this link and log into your Microsoft Account. Work through any prompts you see until you get to the Microsoft Account Security & Password screen (shown in the screenshot below). Click the “Set up two-step verification” option.
Click the blue Next button at the bottom of the screen to proceed to the next step.
If you want to use the Authenticator app to generate and use new security codes on your phone, select the type of phone you use and click the gray Next button. If you don’t want to use this app, select the gray Skip button (which is what I did for this tutorial). Using the Authenticator app is not required to enable and use two step authentication.
At this point, you have enabled two-step verification on your account. Be sure to print or write down the unique 25 digit alpha numeric recovery code that is shown on the screen because you’ll need it if you ever have to recover your Microsoft password (I have concealed my recovery code in the screenshot below). Click the blue Next button.
Now you are ready to set up your phone with its new 16 digit app password. Be sure to write down the app password – you’ll use this code as the password for your account when you update the password on the phone). Click the blue Next button to finish.
At this point you can click the blue Finish button or click this link to learn about how to set up app passwords on some of your other devices.
Clicking the Finish button returns you to the Sign in screen. At this point, the password you use on your computer (your original password has not been changed). You can log into your account again, and change the password as desired.
About Trusted Devices
You can set up as many trusted devices as you want on a Microsoft Account—there is no limit.
Microsoft does not provides a list of trusted devices on the security information page.
If you don’t sign in to a particular trusted device at least once every two months, Microsoft will automatically remove it from your Microsoft account. This helps keep your account secure if a trusted device is ever lost or stolen without you realizing it.
Be Sure to Update your Phone’s password with the new App Password
Now if you haven’t already updated the password on the phone with your new app password, go to Settings > Email + Accounts > tap the Microsoft account. Input your new app password in the password space.
You might also be interested in this article: “Disable Two-Step Authentication on a Microsoft Account