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Whoops: Google Authenticator iOS Update Erases User Accounts

Google has pulled its app from the App Store already, but anyone using Authenticator on the beta version of iOS 7 might want to disable the auto-update feature, or risk losing their accounts.

Google has pulled its Authenticator app from the App Store and is working to fix a bug after users had their accounts wiped when they updated the app. The bug first came to light after a post on Y Combinator's Hacker News said this: "I upgraded Google Authenticator to the latest version this evening on my iPhone. It lost all my accounts. DO NOT UPGRADE Google Authenticator or you'll have a really bad day."

There followed a torrent of comments from people using the beta version of iOS 7—which updates automatically, unless, of course, you've been clever enough to disable the auto-update feature—complaining that the same thing had happened to them, and that all their existing accounts had gone the way of the dodo.

Former Googler and inventor of the hashtag Chris Messina came up with a solution, but the fix only deals specifically with Google accounts. And Amazon acted swiftly, sending users of its Web Services an email telling them to get in contact should they find themselves locked out of their accounts.

Google told TheNextWeb it was aware of the issue, saying a refreshed version of the app that generates two-step authentication codes for websites that need enhanced security will be back in the App Store shortly.

[Image: Flickr user Joshua Ganderson]