How to: Use Microsoft multifactor authentication when your mobile device doesn't have network access


If you have set up the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app but are faced with a situation where your mobile device is without cellular coverage or Wi-Fi, you can still sign in to services that require Microsoft multifactor authentication (MFA).

An Internet connect is not necessary in order to use MFA. Multiple options are available.


Security key

Use a WebAuthn/FIDO2 security key (for example, YubiKey).

NOTE: Security keys are not compatible with Skype for Business.

Microsoft Authenticator mobile app

If the concern is having cellular service or a text messaging plan, please note that the Microsoft Authenticator app can function using the "number matching" feature (typing a two-digit code) via the Internet over Wi-Fi. Neither cellular service nor a text message plan is required.

If Internet service on your mobile device is not available via cellular or Wi-Fi, the Microsoft Authenticator app can still generate codes that can be used for MFA. Internet service is not required. This works using the industry standard RFC 6238 (TOTP) as an alternative method to number matching. You do not need to be connected to a network to use the app with the TOTP option. Please see how to use Microsoft MFA, Step 4, Section D for details on how to do this.

Text message or phone call

Options exist for receiving SMS text messages and voice phone call without a mobile device.

Carrier options that don't require a cellular signal

Some providers allow you to receive text messages and/or phone calls on a computer, and no cellular connection is needed.


  • AT&T NumberSync
  • T-Mobile DIGITS
  • Verizon Messages (Messages+)

Please contact your provider for further details.

Alternatives to traditional postpaid cellular service

You can receive phone calls on a number that isn't a cellular number.


If you expect to be in an area without cellular coverage and without Wi-Fi, you may wish to set up one of the options above as an alternative to have available as a backup MFA method.