Need an Authenticator App? Here are the Most Popular Options

Ariel Ariel

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Not the Best Time for That.... Check out the full article for more insights.

Twitter recently made a security change that forced its non-paying users who use 2-factor authentication to start using an authenticator app to log into their account instead of more problematic text messages.

Even though the announcement could have been smoother and more descriptive, this is a great move from a security standpoint.


Which app should you trust and which apps are even competing?

The easy answer is Microsoft Authenticator, but to get a better idea of what's going on in the authenticator space I rounded up the top 10 most downloaded authenticator apps in 2022, and the results are... Interesting.

Microsoft and Google lead the way. The pair saw more than 105 million new downloads in 2022 from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. Microsoft was responsible for about 58% of that total.

An unexpected name came in third -- Twilio. Did you know Twilio had an authenticator app? Well, it does, and in 2022 it made its way into about 5 million iOS and Android devices, according to our estimates.

That's an order of magnitude lower than the bigs, which means it's not nearly as popular, and when I looked through Inspector, which runs a search on the App Store directly, the results matched. Microsoft and Google are the top search results.

Other than Salesforce, which also has an authenticator app, the rest of the names are pretty generic and obviously made for ASO. One even uses a very old trick to rank higher...

Between those generic ones is another name some of you might know. LastPass, the password manager that recently had a serious leak.

I added up the downloads of all of the generic names, Twilio, Salesforce, and LastPass and they don't even come close to Microsoft or Google. So, how do they even compete?

Search! Apple Search Ads and App Store Optimization, to be more specific. All but one of the generic apps pay for ads in the App Store, most using names of competitors from this list as their keywords. Those apps are also very optimized to be discovered organically in the store.

Much more than apps like LastPass or even Twilio Authy.

What's your favorite?

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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