I got a new phone – first one in a few years. You’d think I’d be excited. I am not – at least not today.  I went through the instructions from Apple on how to back up my phone, how to transfer the data and back up, how to disable the old phone, how to strip the old phone, and then ship it off in the box provided by AT&T to get a credit. Sounds easy. Seemed easy.

One piece was missing because I didn’t export one file from my old phone before resetting it to factory settings and removing the sim card – my AUTHENTICATOR app backup file. Yep, I’m so secure and have added about 40 accounts to the Authenticator app, but I didn’t realize it wouldn’t come over with the iCloud backup. I needed to back it up on the old phone, export it to IMPORT into my new phone, and then remove the old phone from authenticated devices. NOW they tell me. I didn’t even think of doing this since I didn’t have an authenticator before my most recent phone. It wasn’t a thing.

I started first with Cloudflare to attempt to login without the authenticator app. They require it for my login; I can’t authenticate. I filled out their form to enable recovery. The chimps must be backlogged because it says receiving an access code will take 3-5 days. I’m not sure why it would take that long. My only option was to use the backup codes I didn’t save because I didn’t think I would need them because… I had Authenticator!

I have learned that as much as I like security, it’s a pain. It makes me want to dumb everything down, break out the notepad or journal book for my passwords and carry it everywhere with me, and remove 2-factor authentication so I can simply log in to stuff. As much as I want to do that in this moment, I know that’s not logical, and we have to be more secure, but I am not a fan of being paralyzed by not having a workaround.

You know when you are offered to store backup codes, and in a rush, you skip it because you have your authenticator app? Don’t skip it. Get the codes. Keep them all in a folder that you name each set of codes: backupcodes-cloudflare-finch.txt, etc., so you know which account it is for, but they all have a simple naming convention. Even if you never need it, it’s a tiny text file, just get it and save it all in one place.

Adding to non-productive hours…

X marks the spot of salt in the first wound.

(HUGE SIGH) As you know, Twitter is officially X all the way through. I cannot log in as Twitter. My Authenticator accounts were with Twitter. I still need it for X, and I cannot get in because… say it with me… I don’t have the accounts on my new phone in Authenticator, and I need Authenticator to log in to X. I’m sure over this next week or two, I’ll be able to get an accurate count on how many items in my tech stack I used Authenticator for. I can think of 40 off the top of my head, but it may be higher.

I had to go through X’s process to prove I was a human by spinning the animals in the direction of the hand on the left – 15 times. I failed the first time and tried again. Failed.

I must have been off, so I went with the alternative – listening to the 3 sounds for the one with a bird or birds chirping. 15 of these as well.

The birds are terrible, and some are not distinguishable, but they are more forgiving with my listening skills. I proved I’m a human. X will get back to me via email. They have already responded, and we are working through a few of the accounts. VERY responsive customer service. They do not have overworked chimps living in their servers. Yay!

Now, I need to repeat that process for 15 more X accounts I manage.

Ask me in a few weeks if I’m happy with my new fancy phone. I may have a different answer.

6/21 update: Attempting account #2 as of this date. Still not able to get in. Sounds were BEES instead of birds and only took ONE, rather than 15. I’ve damseled at them asking for their help in resetting like they helped with the first one.


  • At least people can hear me when we speak on the phone without using a headset or speakerphone mode – I still use my phone to talk to people all day long – clients and prospects, family and friends.
  • My camera is no longer blurry when I zoom in. I had been relying on manual zoom (feet) to get close-ups of anything.
  • My incoming and outgoing calls don’t fail, requiring up to 7 reboots a day.

All of that IS exciting. I am blessed to be able to pay for a new phone. The dust will settle, and I will gain access. I will practice patience and live in gratitude that these issues are the most frustrating part of my day. If that’s as bad as it gets, I’m in good shape!



I cannot find those backup codes. That’s on me. Assumed Authenticator was enough. Nope. I’m in the authentication and verification loop.

I went through the process to validate I’m human (simpler than X – no birds or bees), received the email with the code, entered the code on Cloudflare, and was taken back to the step to authenticate. Since I am back in my X account – at least one of them, I was able to contact Cloudflare support there. We’ll see what happens.

The movie Groundhog Day is playing in my head. I keep ending up back here with the same options – login or try recovery.