The Google Authenticator app is an essential security tool for many people, although several alternatives currently exist on the market. In May this year, Google introduced the relatively minor “Click to reveal PIN” feature, which hides all two-factor authentication codes, allowing users to reveal only the codes they want to use. That seemed like a pretty innocuous inclusion, given that 2FA codes change every 30 seconds anyway. But Google apparently doesn’t see it that way, since the feature disappeared from the app. Authenticator following an update last week.

This deletion is part of the Google Authenticator 5.20R4 update, which contains no other notable additions. According to the patch notes on the app’s Play Store listing, it includes device encryption for “secret value storage.”

The only use case for the feature click to reveal pin code is for situations where you have strangers around you, like in a crowded subway. But as we mentioned above, since codes change frequently, hiding them has never really been a major advantage. Google hasn’t said why it backtracked on this particular feature, but hopefully an explanation is forthcoming. There is always the possibility that it will come back with or without modifications.

The latest update of the authenticator application of Google started shipping on July 14, so it’s probably already available on your device if auto-update is enabled. The May 2022 Update, which brought the app to the version 5.20R2 and introduced the ability to hide 2FA codes, was the first in two years. But with the steady pace of these revision updates coming our way, we could see things changing right before our eyes and faster than we think.

Google Authenticator on Android removes “click to reveal”

At the end of May, Google Authenticator received a First Update It hid your 2FA codes until you clicked to reveal them. An update to Authenticator this week sees Google roll back this feature.

Google Authenticator version 5.20R4 removes the “Tap to reveal PIN” feature so that you instantly see every two-factor authentication code in this list when you open the app.

Click to reveal is supposed to be Google’s attempt to add another level of security by making it harder for people physically close to you to look at your phone screen and take something away. Again, the icons actually change every 30 seconds, so it’s unclear how effective the action was. An unintended positive aspect of this feature was how it helped you focus by only showing you the code you wanted.

This update never reached the iOS app, which may prompt you to authenticate Face/Touch ID before showing icons and it would be a good choice on Android for shared device use cases.

Meanwhile, Google updated the Play Store Authenticator release notes saying it “added device encryption to secret value storage.” There are no other changes to the app and this latest version of Google Authenticator was widely rolled out earlier this week.

Categorized in: