How to set up Two Factor Authentication for Dropbox

Two-step verification is an optional but highly recommended security feature. Once enabled, Dropbox requires a six-digit security code or a security key in addition to your password when you sign in to your account.

Already use two-step verification and locked out? Learn how to regain access to your account.

Sections in this article:

Enable two-step verification

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  1. Click your avatar.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Toggle Two-step verification to On.
  5. Click Get started.
  6. Re-enter your password. 
  7. Choose if you want to receive your security code by text message or mobile app:

Use text messages

If you choose to receive your security codes by text message, you need a phone capable of receiving text messages (carrier rates may apply).

Whenever you successfully sign in to Dropbox using your password, a text message containing a security code will be sent to your phone.

To enable this option:

  1. Select Use text messages during the two-step verification setup.
  2. Enter the phone number where you'd like to receive text messages.
  3. Click Next.
  4. You'll be sent a security code by text message. Enter this code into the prompt on dropbox.com.
  5. Click Next.

Use a mobile app

Several mobile apps are available that will generate a unique time-sensitive security code you can use to finish signing in to your Dropbox account. Any app that supports the Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) protocol should work, including:

Once you download one of these apps, follow these steps to use the app for Dropbox two-step verification:

  1. Select Use a mobile app during the two-step verification setup.
  2. You can either:
    • Scan the barcode (if your app supports it): Open your app of choice and choose to add a new account. You may then be able to use your phone's camera to scan the barcode on dropbox.com.
    • Enter your secret key manually: You'll be given a secret key on dropbox.com that you can type into the app. Use the steps in your app to add a new account using a secret key.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Once your app is configured, enter the security code generated by your authenticator app to verify setup and enable two-step verification.
  5. Click Next.

Most apps will generate security codes even when cellular/data service is not available - useful when traveling or where coverage is unreliable.

Note: If you choose to use an authenticator app to receive your verification codes, then we highly recommend manually entering primary and backup phone numbers in your account settings. This is an important step because we use this contact information to help you regain access to your account if you're ever locked out due to an error with two-step verification.

Add a backup method

After enabling two-step verification, consider adding a backup phone number that can receive text messages as well. If you ever lose your primary phone, or can't use your authenitcator app, you can send a security code to your backup phone number instead.

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  1. Click your avatar.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Under Two-step verification, click Add next to Backup method.
  5. Enter your password.
  6. Enter the phone number you'd like to use as your backup device.

Storing your emergency backup codes

When enabling two-step verification, you'll receive ten 8-digit backup codes. It is very important that you write these codes down and store them somewhere safe. If you ever lose your phone, or can't receive or generate a security code, you need one of these backup codes for emergency access to your Dropbox. Once a backup code is used, it can't be used again.

If you didn't note your backup codes when you first set up two-step verification, you can find them on dropbox.com:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  1. Click your avatar.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Under Two-step verification, click Show next to Recovery codes.
  5. Enter your password.
  6. Use or save the code that appears.