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Microsoft's new Authenticator app lets you approve logins from an Apple Watch

Microsoft's new Authenticator app lets you approve logins from an Apple Watch

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Microsoft is overhauling its authenticator apps for Android and iOS next month, with new features and a refreshed user interface. While Microsoft has long supported two-factor authentication for multiple services on Android, the iOS app has always been restricted to Microsoft Azure. That's changing on August 15th, and the new apps for both iOS and Android will support two-factor codes from a variety of services.

It's even quicker than Google's new tap to authenticate feature

If you're a Microsoft Account user ( or Hotmail etc.) then you'll even be able to approve a request from a notification on your phone. This will also work for notifications on an Apple Watch or a Samsung Gear device. Google just started making its own two-factor authentication a lot easier to use thanks to a tap to approve feature in its Google app for Android and iOS. Microsoft's own notification support is very similar, and actually even quicker since it's direct from the notification itself and there's no need to open the app.

Microsoft is also adding support for finger-based approvals on iOS and Android. "We're just getting started on this new app," notes Alex Simons, a director of program management in Microsoft's identity division. "Now that we've finished consolidating into a single code base, we're expecting to deliver new improvements at a very rapid pace." Microsoft is planning to roll out the first version of the new app on August 15th.