Microsoft updates Outlook Stable to include Authenticator functionality

Martin Brinkmann
May 29, 2023
Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft previewed Authenticator Lite in its Outlook mobile application last month after having announced the planned feature in March 2o23.

Today, Microsoft announced the general availability of the Authenticator functionality in the Outlook applications for Android and iOS. Once enabled, Outlook mobile users may use the app as a two-factor authentication tool to verify sign-ins.

Microsoft notes that accounts are "71% less likely to be compromised" than accounts that use SMS codes for two-factor authentication. While any form of multi-factor authentication improves security over accounts that use none, using apps is more secure than using SMS, as codes as transmitted in clear text if the latter option is used.

microsoft authenticator lite

Microsoft Authenticator Lite is limited to commercial partners. Microsoft reveals that it allows organizations to enable multi-factor authentication for work or school accounts by using the Outlook app.

The decision to use the Outlook app, and not Microsoft's main Authenticator app, may look strange on first glance. Why integrate authenticator functionality into another app? The answer lies in usage statistics. Outlook is installed on more devices than Microsoft's Authenticator app. The Outlook app for Android was downloaded over 500 million times as of March 2023, while Microsoft's Authenticator app only 50 million times.

System administrators do not have to install another app on user devices and get users to use them. Instead, they enable Authenticator Lite functionality in Outlook and users get sign-in approval prompts directly in Outlook.

While that may require some form of technical training as well, it is not as extensive as teaching an entirely new app to users.

Microsoft notes that the following happens when the feature is enabled: "Users are prompted in Outlook on their mobile devices to register for multifactor authentication (MFA). Now, after they enter their password at sign in, they’ll have the option to send a push notification to their Android or iOS device."

Users may approve or deny sign-in requests directly in the Outlook application, or copy the code manually as well.

System administrator may enable the Microsoft Authenticator feature setting in the Microsoft Entra portal and via MS Graph. Technical guidance is available on the Microsoft Learn website, which provides step-by-step instructions on enabling the feature. The support page lists prerequisites as well.

Microsoft work and school users will soon be able to authorize sign-in requests using the company's Outlook application. IT administrators need to enable the feature for users and the Outlook app needs to be installed on user devices as well.

Two-factor authentication is an important security feature at the time of writing. The upcoming passkeys feature will reduce the importance of it in the long run, but it will take years before passkeys support is firmly established.

Now You: passwords, two-factor authentication, passkeys, which do you prefer, and why?

Microsoft updates Outlook Stable to include Authenticator functionality
Article Name
Microsoft updates Outlook Stable to include Authenticator functionality
Microsoft announced the general availability of Authenticator Lite functionality in the company's Outlook application for Android and iOS.
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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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