How to go without a password in your Microsoft account

Even though he is The way you log in to most of your digital accounts by default, passwords aren’t really that secure – certainly not compared to a fingerprint or a device that can act as a physical key. If someone picks up or guesses your password, they may pretend to be you, wherever you are in the world, especially if you don’t have two-factor authentication. That’s why the recent move by Microsoft to go without a password is such a welcome step to better protection.

This is a transition that you should welcome. The easier it is to remember passwords, the easier it is for someone else (or automated hacking tools) to guess them. This makes them harder to guess or crack, making them impossible to remember, adding additional inconvenience and frustration when there is a new device to start working. And while a good password manager can solve many of these problems for you, removing passwords generally leads you even further.

With that in mind, Microsoft is pushing for a password-free future and allowing users to sign in to their Microsoft accounts — which you probably use to access your Windows computer, Xbox, Outlook email, OneDrive storage, and more — through other methods.

Microsoft Authenticator can now replace your password.Screenshot: David Neild via Microsoft

This is a big change, although the traditional password method remains an option for Microsoft accounts for now. If you’re interested in making your account more secure and your digital life less stressful, this should be considered – and it’s not particularly difficult to switch.

Switch to login without password

You can replace the password for your Microsoft account with a code from the Microsoft Authenticator application, the Windows Hello biometric sign-in system (usually face or fingerprint recognition), a physical security key that you keep with you, or a verification code sent by email or text.

Although these options are not 100% reliable, they at least require you to have something physical with you (phone or key) or access to another account. This is an improvement over a username and password that anyone can use from anywhere and that can be downloaded online.

Regardless of the method you want to use to remove passwords, you must first download and install the Microsoft Authenticator app for Android or iOS. (Unfortunately, Microsoft did not make its system compatible with other authentication applications.) Log in with the email address and password of your existing Microsoft account, and then the application can verify your identity.

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