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Microsoft Authenticator requires an:

  • Outlook account
  • Verification account
  • iCloud account

The first two are required to set up the authenticator on a new device, the latter stores all the data to be restored.

Ideally, your "verification account" should be supported by a further "restoration account" that can be used to restore its forgotten passwords etc. This account should not be one of the other accounts linked to Microsoft Authenticator as, if these are breached they can simply be used to change the password of the "verification account" and bypass the verification step. This account should also not be in the file manager in case this is breached.

In summary, I'm asking whether it is necessary/ideal to have a complete divorce between the accounts in the file manager and those required to setup the 2fa on a new device. Would a further "restoration" account associated with your "verification account" but not with 2fa directly also be useful?

I would be happy to learn I don't need to memorize 4 additional complex passwords.

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  • (I assume file manager in your q is reference to the pwd manager?) .. nothing stopping you from adding some strong input that's not in the pwd db, potentially avoiding the calamity of its compromise. I've found a poor man's version of "strong password training" to be effective, where I learn a common suffix, while each account still has its own pwd in the db. This is hand-drawn with colours and patterns on a post-it, taped securely to the side of the device, then covered. I force myself to try and remember before I succumb to the mnemonic. (A suffix tends to work better with auto-type.)
    – brynk
    Jan 27 at 11:21

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