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Two Step Sign-In - Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below our list of frequently asked questions in relation to Two Step Sign-In

Using Two Step Sign-In

When will I need to use Two Step Sign-In?

If you are connecting to email or Office 365 from a network outside of Trinity, i.e. your 4G phone connection, your own home WiFi or the WiFi of an eduroam partner.

If you are using your email and Office 365 while in Trinity, connected to the wired or WiFi networks, or via VPN you will not see any requests to use Two Step Sign-In.

What do I need to use Two Step Sign-In

You will need to have your mobile phone close by and powered on. If you are outside Ireland, you must have roaming enabled to receive text messages.

What will I expect to see when using Two Step Sign-In?

You will see a request screen pop up during your sign in to email or Office 365 as below.

You will then receive a text message to your phone with a verification code.

Paste this code into the request window above and click Verify

Why do I have to provide a phone number?

You will need to receive a text to your mobile to verify your identity. There is no extra cost for receiving SMS messages, even if you are travelling within EU member states. As from June 2017 you will ‘roam like at home’ and pay the same prices for calls and texts as you would at home.

Where is my phone number held?

When you add your phone number during Two Step Sign-In registration, it is held on a secure server in Microsoft. The server is within the EU as part of our Enterprise Agreement and is GDPR compliant so your information is protected. Your number is only held for the purposes of sending you validation codes and will not be used for any other purpose. It is not visible to any other users or applications in the service.

What if I change my phone number?

  1. Log into http://office.tcd.ie
  2. Click on your account icon in the top right corner
  3. Choose My Account
  4. Choose Security & Privacy > Additional security verification.
  5. Choose Update my phone numbers used for account security. This will display the following page:

  1. Type your new number into the Authentication phone field
  2. Click Save

Can I add a second number?

Yes, you can, however only add a second mobile number of a phone you own, ie if your first number is your work phone, then you can also add your personal number. Do not add partners/ friends / family members phone numbers.

  1. Log into http://office.tcd.ie
  2. Click on your account icon in the top right corner
  3. Choose My Account
  4. Choose Security & Privacy > Additional security verification.
  5. Choose Update my phone numbers used for account security. This will display the following page:

  1. Click the box beside Alternate authentication phone
  2. Select country code
  3. Type your second number into the box.
  4. Click Save

I am getting verification codes sent to me, but I am not trying to sign-in!

Don't panic, the good thing about two step sign-in is that no one can access your account unless they have the verification code.

Work through this quick checklist to see where the request might be coming from:

  1. If you are on Trinity campus, make sure that your devices are connected to the wired network or TCDwireless WiFi network.
  2. If you are off campus:
    • On your laptop check that your VPN is on and connected
    • If you don’t have VPN on your laptop
      • Check that you don't have a browser window open that is connected to office.tcd.ie / mail.tcd.ie
      • Check that you don’t have Teams or Outlook open as they could be requesting a connection in the background.
    • On your smartphone/tablet:
      • Check that Outlook or Office 365 apps are not running in the background.
      • Check that you don't have a browser window open that is connected to office.tcd.ie / mail.tcd.ie

Once you know that none of your devices or apps are trying to connect without your knowledge, report this to Service Desk (itservicedesk@tcd.ie) but be assured that without the verification code, another party cannot access your account.

Will the verification texts always come from the same number?

Sometimes the sender ID of the verification text message may be different, if you are worried about whether to trust a verification message, note that they are only sent in response to a login attempt. So if you are not logging in to email or Office 365 outside Trinity networks and you receive a verification text, your account may have been compromised and you should change your password and report this to Service Desk (itservicedesk@tcd.ie).

Here are some examples.

How do I use the option 'Don't ask again for 30 days'?

During the two step verification process you can choose the option 'Don't ask again for 30 days' or 'Stay Signed in?'

Only use these options on a secure device that only you can access.

Selecting these options will save your login details, on the device (computer/tablet/phone) you are currently using, and you won't be asked to login/verify again for 30 days on that device.

After 30 days you will need to complete the two step login process again.

If you run into difficulties, work through this quick checklist to try to resolve the problem:

  • Check your Browser (Chrome/Safari/IE).
    1. Close your browser, making sure to close all windows/tabs.
    2. Re-open you browser and go to http://office.tcd.ie
    3. You should be prompted to login
  • Check your Teams app
    1. Sign out of your Teams app
    2. Open the Teams app
    3. You should be prompted to login

If you have restarted all your Office 365 apps and you are still having problems logging in please contact the Service Desk (itservicedesk@tcd.ie)

I travel a lot and don't always have access to 3G/4G networks to receive texts, any advice?

Yes, there are two pieces of advice for such situations:

  1. You can change your verification method to include the Microsoft Authenticator App by following the below steps 1-13, and when logging in select "Sign in another way"

  2. As a backup if you know you are going to be travelling with another Trinity College Staff member, you can list their phone number as an alternate phone, and vice versa so you both have backups in case anything happens to your phone while travelling.

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Steps to add the Microsoft Authenticator App as a secondary verification method.

  1. Log into http://office.tcd.ie on your laptop or desktop (keep your mobile phone close by)
  2. Click on your account icon in the top right corner
  3. Choose My Account
  4. Choose Security & Privacy > Additional security verification.
  5. Choose Update my phone numbers used for account security. This will display the following page:
  6. Keep the tick in "Authentication phone" but add a tick by "Authenticator app or Token"
  7. Using your mobile phone go to the Apple App Store / Google Play Store, and download the Microsoft Authenticator App

  8. On your desktop / laptop, using the screen above, click the button "Set up Authenticator app"
  9. The Configure mobile app screen appears with a QR code for you to scan with the authenticator app.
  10. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile.
  11. On the Accounts screen, select Add account, and then select Work or school account.
  12. Use your device's camera to scan the QR code, (indicated above in red box) and then select Done to close the QR code screen.
    • If your devices camera is not working, on the QR scanner screen, select Enter code manually.
    • Type the code and URL from the screen with the QR (underlined in red above) code into the Add an account screen, and then select Finish.


  13. The Accounts screen of the app shows you your account name and a six-digit verification code.
    For additional security, the verification code changes every 30 seconds preventing you from using the same code twice.

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You will now be able to use the authenticator app in areas where you may not be able to receive text messages but you have access to WiFi

  • When you are asked to identify yourself using Two Step Sign-In click on Sign in another way
  • Select Approve a request on my Microsoft Authenticator app
  • When the request notification comes to your phone, click Approve

App Passwords

Why am I repeatedly asked for my password on apps other than Outlook?

If you are using a mail or calendar app other than Outlook on your smartphone, you may find that you are repeatedly asked for your password when signing in, in this case the password that is required is your App Password.

Please note: IT Services strongly recommends you access your email either by using Outlook (on desktop or phone app) or by logging into http://mail.tcd.ie. The Outlook App is available from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store for smartphones, and comes as part of the Office 365 suite when installed from http://office.tcd.ie for your laptop / tablet.

Using other mail clients to access your email will require the use of App passwords, this is a 16-character password generated during Two Step Sign-In setup, and used instead of their usual Trinity computer login password when signing into the mail client.

For example, using the Apple Mail Client outside the trusted Trinity network requires an app password, this can be confusing if you are using a laptop both on the Trinity Network and outside. The first time that you connect your device to a network outside Trinity, the Apple Mail client will not connect and will prompt for a password. If you enter your usual Trinity computer login password you will be repeatedly prompted for a password, with no indication of why the Trinity computer login password is not accepted. In this instance you must enter the App Password, if you do not have one you can follow the instructions below to create one. Once the App Password is used, and you click remember password, you will be able to access your mail.

What is an App Password?

An App Password is a 16-character password which is linked to your account and used on apps which do not work on Two Step Sign-In, such as the Mail and Calendar apps that come with your iPhone and Android device, it is used instead of your usual Trinity computer login password.

For example, using the Apple Mail Client outside the trusted Trinity network requires an app password, this can be confusing if you are using a laptop both on the Trinity Network and outside. The first time that you connect your device to a network outside Trinity, the Apple Mail client will not connect and will prompt for a password. If you enter your usual Trinity computer login password you will be repeatedly prompted for a password, with no indication of why the Trinity computer login password is not accepted. In this instance you must enter the App Password, if you do not have one you can follow the instructions below to create one. Once the App Password is used and you click remember password your login will be able to access your mail.

How do I get an App Password?

Your first App Password is generated during Two Step Sign-In setup,

On setting up your two step two step sign in you will be brought to a window where an App password will be displayed. You can copy this App password, and store it in a note on your phone, for apps that may need it such as iOS Mail or Android Mail apps you can also create further app passwords later if needed.

Creating more App Passwords:

  1. Log into http://office.tcd.ie
  2. Click on your account icon in the top right corner
  3. Choose My Account
  4. Choose Security info.
  5. Choose Add Method.

  1. Then choose App password from the dropdown menu.
  1. You will be presented with the following screen

It is recommended to use one app password per device. When you create app passwords you can assign a name to it to easily identify it, e.g. iPhoneX. If the phone is changed in the future, you can delete this specific app password without affecting your other apps and devices. You can then create a new app password for the new device.

  1. Enter a name for the app password.
  2. Then click on Next.
  3. On the next window the 16-digit app password will be displayed. 
  4. Click on copy password to clipboard icon next to the password.
  1. Click Done

Once you select close the password will disappear forever. However, an app password can be deleted and recreated if it was not copied correctly.

Remember: you should delete the app password if you give this device to someone else / it is lost / stolen.

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