On Tuesday, Google released an iOS update for it’s Authenticator app, which adds support for the iPhone 5’s screen-resolution, an iOS 7-like user interface… and wipes all of your existing tokens.
This is a significant problem, as many companies rely on Google’s Authenticator app as the de-facto time-based token generator for iOS – Microsoft even promote its use with live.com for all non-Windows Phone platforms.
Google, at least, offers a simple procedure to re-scan a QR-code and transfer the authentication details to a new device – but many other services may not provide an easy or obvious way to do this… or, at least, not one which is convenient without the ability to generate a pass-code in the first place.
Is this a case of rank ineptitude or a complete lack of testing on Google’s behalf? I did check the releate-notes before installing the update, and “Wipes all existing data” was not mentioned. Given that iOS 7 with auto-updating apps is now days away, has Google made a stab at Apple’s users to drive people towards Android? Or, has it grown weary of free-loaders and wants its authenticator app all to itself? Time may tell… but iOS urgently needs a third-party Authenticator app whose maintainers show more responsibility and regard for their users.