Google Authenticator vs Microsoft Authneticator, which is the best 2FA app?

Two Factor Authentication or 2FA has become an important security feature over years. There are many 2FA apps that are now available for Android smartphones. Today we will discuss about the authentication apps from the two big companies Google and Microsoft.
We will compare the applications based on three aspects Features, User Interface and Support. First,

Features

Both the apps (Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator) have all the basic feature set. They both support adding accounts via QR code and secret. They both support editing an account name and reordering.

Going a bit deeper Microsoft Authenticator has an additional feature of hiding codes for specific accounts. This allows you to not only hide codes for sensitive accounts but also shows more accounts on the screen compared to Google's app.

Although it does not matter much these days, MS Authenticator occupies more storage space while compared to Google Authenticator or other authenticators.

Winner: MS Authenticator

User Interface

Microsoft Authenticator



Microsoft Authenticator support custom icons for popular websites such as Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, Slack, Google, etc... While not a big feature it makes it easy to locate code when you have many. In comparison Google authenticator does not have any icons at all.

As soon as you click on Add account it opens a QR code scanner with an option to enter secret at the bottom. It is quite nice as QR code is the most used option anyway. Google Authenticator on the other hand throws a popup to choose between QR code and secret.

Google Authenticator



Google's Authenticator app sticks with the material design which looks great with stock android. Google Authenticator also has a dark theme which MS Authenticator lacks.

Also Google authenticator makes it easy to edit or delete things by simple long pressing them. A add button is present in the home screen itself to make things easier. MS Authenticator on the other hand hides them behind a menu.

Winner: Tie

Support

Both the apps support Android, iPhone and iPad devices. However Microsoft Authenticator supports Apple Watch while Google authenticator does not. And obviously Google Authenticator is not present in Windows Phones. Even on Android MS Authenticator is more regularly updated than Google. At the time of writing this article Google Authenticator app has not been updated for a year.

Winner: MS Authenticator

Update - 2020 Dec 28: It has been nearly two year since I wrote this post. Microsoft Authenticator now has features like Back & restore, Password syncing, etc... While this makes MS Authenticator a win over Google, I found a app called Aegis authenticator and switched to it. It is open source, has all the features and a good looking UI. But Aegis, is only available for Android. If you are using iOS or switching between Android & iOS, MS Authenticator might be the best choice to my knowledge.