Facebook offers many layers of security and if you value your account, you should apply all of them. You can use a secure password, add your mobile phone number/s for a potential recovery, set up trusted contacts, login alerts, login approvals, and code generator.
This system can break down when you get logged out of Facebook and lose access to your recovery options. For example, what if you can’t log into Facebook on your new computer because you don’t have access to the Code Generator on your phone?
What Are Login Approvals?
Login Approvals are Facebook’s version of two-factor authentication. Normally, you only need your password and your username or email address to log into your Facebook account. Now, let’s say someone knows your email address, then all they need is to crack your password and that’s easier than you may think.
Once you enable Login Approvals, you’re adding an extra layer of security. Whenever you try to log into Facebook from a new location or device, Facebook will ask you for a security code to complete the login. A security code can be obtained in three different ways:
From a text message to your mobile number.
From Code Generator in the Facebook mobile app, which automatically generates a fresh code every 30 seconds.
From a downloaded set of backup codes.
So even if someone manages to crack your password, they won’t be able to log in without a security code.
Note that up to two of the methods above depend on your phone. If you do proceed with enabling Login Approvals, make sure you have a backup plan for the case that you lose your phone. More on that below.
How to Set Up Login Approvals and Code Generator
To enable Login Approvals, open Facebook in your browser, click the arrowhead in the top right to expand the navigation menu, and go to Settings > Security > Login Approvals. Here, check Require a security code to access my account from unknown browsers, make sure your mobile number is up to date, and click Save Changes.
Code Generator is a convenient way to access login approval codes without a mobile number. This can be useful when you’re traveling or don’t have mobile reception. Code Generator is available inside the Facebook app for iOS and Android. The Windows Store app mimics the Facebook website and doesn’t include Code Generator. To set up Code Generator from your browser, go to Facebook > Settings > Security > Code Generator, click Enable, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Once Code Generator is activated on your mobile device, you’ll need to test it in your browser to fully activate the feature.
Note that after enabling Login Approvals, you might need a security code the next time you want to access your Facebook app. This first code will be sent to your mobile number.
What If You Lose Your Phone?
When you’ve set up your phone to be the key to your Facebook account, losing or breaking it could be a problem. Here’s what you can do to prepare for or recover from this Facebook disaster.
Save Login Approval Codes as a Backup
After setting up Login Approvals, head to your Facebook Security Settings and save a set of Login Approval Codes as a backup. You can print the codes to keep a physical copy, prepare a digital copy, for example a screenshot, and store it in a safe location, or copy the codes to your LastPass vault.
Should you ever not have access to your phone, you can use one of these codes to log into Facebook from a new device or location.
Remember Trusted Devices
Whenever you log into Facebook from a new device, application, or browser, you will be asked whether you would like to save it. When you log into Facebook from a recognized device and location, you won’t be asked for a login approval code. In case you lose your phone, this could be your private backdoor into your Facebook account.
Do use this option on at least one device that you are unlikely to lose and likely to have access to, other than your phone. Only ever let Facebook remember devices and locations that are private and safe. And frequently review your list of Recognized Devices and Remove items that are outdated.
Log In From a Recognized Device & End Facebook Session
So it happened, you lost your phone and you didn’t back up any security codes. If you want to log into Facebook from a new location, you’re in trouble. Before this happens, however, you can log into Facebook from a recognized location, as described above. This could be the browser on your desktop computer or the Facebook app on your tablet.
The first thing you should do to prevent access to your Facebook account from the lost phone — in case you didn’t log out of the app — is terminate the app’s Facebook session. If you registered your phone via the phone number, go to Facebook > Settings > Mobile > Lost your phone? and click the Log Out on Phone button.
At this point, you should Remove the number of the lost phone.
Should you have lost a device other than your phone or did you not set up your mobile number, here’s another way to terminate a Facebook session.
Go to Facebook (on a recognized device) > Settings > Security > Where You’re Logged In, find the respective session and click End Activity. If in doubt, end multiple sessions. This will log you out of your phone’s Android app.
Until you get your phone back or can set up Code Generator on a new phone, you can save a batch of backup codes as described above. You could also set up another third party app to generate codes. For that second option, go to Facebook > Security Settings > Code Generator and click Set up another way to get security codes. Then follow the on-screen instructions.
To be safe, also update your Facebook password.
Keep Facebook Safe
Every day, we hear from people who have lost access to their Facebook account. Most of them we can’t help because they failed to set up safety options, had their passwords cracked, and the hackers changed their password and recovery options. If it has come this far, you can only pray that Facebook will help you recover your account.
Don’t let it come this far! It only takes a few minutes to enable Login Approvals and save security codes. Once disaster strikes, you will be prepared.
Have you ever recovered from a Facebook disaster? What happened and how did you get back in? Please share your stories in the comments!