Google Auth Client for Samsung Gear, Android, Android Wear, Fitbit

New: Fitbit support added, app approved by Fitbit  (see Fitbit Section and Fitbit App Store)

Purpose

An idea was to have a Google Auth/2FA Client running on all Android-bound phones and watches. It includes:

  • Contemporary high end Android phones running ver 6.0 or higher
  • Contemporary Samsung Gear devices such as Gear S2, S3, Sport, Galaxy
  • Android Wear watches
  • Fitbit Versa and Ionic

The major benefit is that it integrates phone’s, Wear and Gear’s 2FA apps in a single solution and allows transferring accounts between peers in any direction: from phone to watch or vise versa. There is no need for Google’s stock app anymore, because the companion includes all GA functionality and adds features that stock GA app is currently missing.

The companion allows scanning Google’s QR bar code, which is a client/server shared secret used for generating one time passwords (OTP).

In addition, the Android’s companion can be also used to backup and restore all 2FA accounts. Backups could be encrypted using a password based encryption (PBE) with HMAC signature intended for verifying  backup’s integrity (e.g. signature verification will fail if a password is not valid).

Plain backups are also supported, but not recommended, since they are stored in Android’s “Download” directory that can be accessed by other applications that are granted “read storage” permission.

Using Google Drive for backup/restore operations makes syncing accounts across all your Android, Gear and Wear devices simple.

Refunds, Reviews, Donations

Please check Google’s Play Store and Samsung Galaxy App Store refund policies before purchasing any paid app. Please also notice that Google and Samsung usually charge taxes and marketplace maintenance fees that only they can refund, so contacting them for a refund is your best option.

Samsung app store refund policies: https://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00076970/

Google play store refund policies: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/2479637?hl=en

PLEASE READ THE POLICIES AND ANSWERS ABOVE AND DON’T BUY AN APP IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THE PROVIDED RULES.

If you submit a review, especially negative one, please provide as many details as you can, so we can review and help. We’ve seen quite a few responses without any details, and helping in those cases is difficult. Please also read this wiki for a quick start.

You can provide the details either in this wiki’s comments, or send a direct email to the admin whose email address can be found in the app’s description.

Expenses for supporting various Android and smartwatches apps are much bigger than income generated by app stores so far. Real smartwatches are often required to test apps on new models. Software emulators, especially Samsung’s ones are not very good, and do not reflect the real “look and feel”

That’s why, if you like this project and want to see more features and other smartwatches models supported, please donate to the project using the bitcoin donation box below.

  • Bitcoin
Scan to Donate Bitcoin to 1CRMQd91Lhm2EP8vSXcyyP2FsTfXXpAjF4

Donate Bitcoin to this address

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin

Where and How to Start

To create a 2FA account on your phone using this app, you’ll need a shared secret, which is a Base32 code generated by your 2FA provider. How to get that code depends on a provider and the code is generated at the time when you enable 2FA in your web app. Instructions for getting the code for all Google accounts are provided here:

https://credelius.com/?p=108

However, those instructions change often, so the best way is to read recent 2FA enabling instructions for each provider. The app was tested and actively used with the following 2FA providers:

  • Google
  • WordPress
  • Twitter
  • Fastcomet
  • DHS

The number of websites supporting 2FA grows fast and the list above will grow as well. Check also this to learn what other websites support TOTP: websites supporting 2FA

App Flavors and Their Usage

How to Choose Right App in Google Play Store

There are two apps in Google’s Play store and the simple guidance below will help you to make the right choice.

  1. “GAC – Google Auth Client” supports Samsung’s Gear and Android Phone. Choose this one if you want to have an authenticator that works as a standalone app on an Android phone, or if you want an Android phone and Gear app to work together. It’s free.
  2. “GACW – Google Auth Client for Wear” is very similar to the first one, except that in addition to Gear, it supports Android Wear and Fitbit devices as well. It also doesn’t have any ads. Choose this one if you need support for both Gear and Wear or Fitbit devices, don’t like ads, and don’t mind to spend $2.

How to Choose Right App in Samsung Store

There are three GAC apps in Samsung’s App store, and the guidance below will help you to to select the right one:

1. Client for Google Authenticator was created in 2015, supports many legacy devices such as Gear, Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear S, along with newer Gear S2, Gear S3, and Gear Sport. Buy this application only is you need support for legacy devices. If you have S2, S3 or Gear Sport, consider other two choices.

2. Client for Google Authenticator with Companion was created in 2017, supports Gear S2, S3 and Sport only, and requires Android’s companion to work. Use this app if you have S2, S3, Sport, and like additional Android’s companion features such as bar code scanning and backups, and don’t need support for Android’s Wear devices.

3. “GACW – Google Auth Client for Gear, Wear, Android” was created in 2018, has the same functionality as “Client for Google Authenticator with Companion”, but in addition, it also supports Android’s Wear devices. Use this app if you have Gear S2, S3, Sport or Galaxy, and need support for Android Wear or Fitbit watches as well. It’s free in Samsung store, but GACW companion will cost you $2 in Play Store, so in the end the price is the same as for other two.

Prerequisites

Supported Phones

  • All Android Phones with Android version 6 and higher should be supported
  • iPhones are not supported and there is no plans to support it in the future

Supported Smartwatches

The following Gear devices are supported:

  1. Gear S2
  2. Gear S3
  3. Gear Sport
  4. Galaxy

The following Fitbit devices are supported:

  1. Ionic
  2. Versa

Theoretically, all Android Wear devices should be supported by GACW as well. Since there are too many of different models in this category, we were not able to test all of them, so if you see any problem with your specific Wear watch model, please provide device details to us and we’ll try to fix.

The minimum Android version to run the companion app is Android 6.0

Downloads

  1. Android application can be downloaded from Play Store: GAC or GACW
  2. The most universal way of installing GAC application on Gear device is through Samsung’s Android Gear App: Gear App. To install GACW on your Wear watch, use Android’d Wear OS app.
  3. If you browsing apps from a Samsung’s Galaxy device, you can also try a direct link for GAC, but it doesn’t work in all browsers even on Galaxy devices:

Available on Samsung Galaxy Apps

Why Updating Old App Not Possible in Samsung Store

The old GAC app supports many legacy Gear devices such as Gear, Gear II, Gear Neo, and Gear S. Since all these devices are different, they require different binaries. Samsung App Store doesn’t allow mixing companion and non-companion binary types in a single app’s distribution. That’s why new app is needed to enable companion functionality. We will gladly merge versions as soon as Samsung changes their policies (the best scenario) or when we decide to stop supporting legacy devices.

Below is an error message, which is caused by an attempt to add a companion-based binary to the old non-companion style app

Adding New Account from Android on Gear or Galaxy

To add a new account from the phone you’ll need to select “Connect to Phone” menu on Gear first:

Pic 1. Menu Page on Gear

If the device is already paired with and connected to the phone through Bluetooth, an icon on the top will turn green and you’ll see the following message:

Pic 2. Gear Connected to Phone

At this point an account page should popup on the phone automatically. You can either select an existing account or tap “+” button to add a new one. Selecting ‘+’ button will bring you to Scanner page. Now you can point the phone’s camera to a QR bar code. When QR bar code is recognized, the blue border will be blinking and a scanned code will show up in an edit box located just above the camera window.

Pic 3. QR Scanner Page

Press “Send to Gear” button and the scanned account will be sent to your Gear device. You can also save the account to phone by pressing “Save” button. After an account is saved, the “Accounts” page will be displayed. Alternatively, you can get there by pressing an “Accounts” menu in the toolbar.

Pic 4. Accounts Page

At the “Accounts” page you could see a list of OTP tokens for all your accounts, and you can use the buttons on the bottom to perform the following actions (left to right):

  • Send selected accounts to Gear
  • Save all accounts to a backup file
  • Delete selected accounts from your phone
  • Restore all accounts from a backup
  • Add more accounts by either scanning QR bar code or by typing a shared secret manually

Tap a token if you want to zoom it. The token will be refreshed properly in the zoomed view as well. When a color of the border becomes red, a new token will be generated automatically.

Pic 5. Zoomed Token

You can scroll accounts on this page using left and right arrow buttons on the bottom.

Changing Account’s Order

By default the accounts are stored in an alphabetic order, but it’s possible to change the order by long pressing an account name and dragging it to the new place.

Editing Account

Tap an account name in the list to edit it. It will bring you to the Scanner page where you can edit account name, the bar code, or scan the code using the phone’s camera. Press store icon on the bottom to save the account to the phone.

Backing up and Restoring Accounts on Phone

Account restore page can be reached by tapping restore button (second from the right) on Accounts page.

Pic 6. Backup and Restore

By default, restore logic will use an encrypted backup and password will be required to decrypt the accounts and to verify a signature created by a backup. You can use plain unencrypted backup by checking “Don’t use encryption” switch, but that option is strongly discouraged. If you want your app to remember the password, use “Remember password” switch.

A button located in the right part of “Accts on Gear” box could be used to restore phone’s accounts directly from a gear device.

The backups that are not needed anymore can be deleted by selecting them in the backup list and pressing a “trash” button on the bottom.

Saving accounts to a backup file is similar and has two options as well: encrypted and unencrypted backups.

Google Drive can be used to backup and restore accounts as well. Use Google Drive button with a question mark to check what backups are available.

Legacy Backup and Restore

Legacy backup and restore are used to save or restore data in gac-codes.mp3 file that can be used for integrating with an older Gear’s GAC version that doesn’t have an Android’s companion app. Use either MP3 button on the bottom or Legacy Backup/Restore menu items in tool bar to create a backup or restore your accounts from it. The MP3 file will be created in Music directory that can be used by Samsung’s Gear App for transferring it further to your Gear device, where the file can be used to initialize the accounts through “Init from File” menu.

Working with Samsung Watch

Token Page

After accounts have been imported to the watch, they will appear in the main menu. Simply tap an account to see a token. To return to menu again tap a “list” button on the top of token page.

 

Account Deletion

To delete an account, tap an account name in the list and hold for a couple of seconds until it changes a color and starts buzzing. Confirm account deletion on the following screen:

Getting Help

To get more help on usage tap the “Help” item in the main menu.

Other Screens Seeing on Samsung Watch

When accounts are successfully received by Gear you’ll see the following screen:

Pic 7. Accounts Received from Phone

When messages are sent by Gear to phone, you’ll see the confirmation screen:

Pic 8. Accounts Sent to Phone

If Gear is disconnected from its peer, the green icon will turn red.

Pic 9. No Connection Page

 

GAC Widget

GAC widget can be used to see the last viewed account and is activated in the same way as any other Gear’s widget: you add it on home screen selecting and tapping the icon below (just swipe screens left until you see it).

Pic. 11 Adding GAC Widget

After widget is added and if a user had recently viewed an account in the GAC app, the latter account will be displayed in the widget. If there was no account previously selected by a user, the following screen will show up.

Pic. 12 Non-initialized Widget

Tap the widget to initialize it or if you want to change a previously selected account. After an account is selected, the widget will display it until another account is selected.

Pic. 13 Initialized Widget

Navigate to the home screen and slide screens left to see the GAC widget.

Adding New Account from Android on Wear

First, start GACW app on Android phone, then start the same on your Wear watch. The beacon icon will turn green on the watch and Wear OS icon will show up in phone’s app tool bar.

Select accounts on your phone and press a “Send to Watch” button or menu item. After accounts are transferred, the Android app is not needed anymore. You’ll see an account list on your Wear device:

Pic. 14 Account list on Wear

Now you can select an account from the list to see the token:

Pic. 14 Auth Token on Wear

Google Auth for Fitbit

Tested Devices

The following Fitbit devices have been tested:

  • Fitbit Versa (real device)
  • Fitbit Ionic (through simulator only)

Installing Google Auth on Fitbit

Fitbit app is approved and is available in the official Fitbit Store. To find and install it:

  1. Open Fitbit App on Android phone
  2. Tap Apps icon and type “Google Auth” to a search bar

Quick Start

  1. Open Fitbit App on Android and make sure that your Fitbit device is visible
  2. Open GACW App on Android. This step could be optional if you don’t mind typing your accounts manually
  3. Open Google Auth app on Fitbit device

The following screen will popup on Fitbit device:

Pic. 15 No Accounts Screen

4. To quickly check if the app is functional, click top-left button. It will import a testing account from settings:

Pic. 16 Account Received

5. Press green Ok button on the right and you’ll see an account list:

Pic. 17 Account LIst

6. Tap “Test” item to see a token:

Pic. 18 Test Token

7. If everything worked as described above, you can proceed to creating your own accounts. There are two ways of doing this: using GACW Android App and typing accounts manually in Fitbit’s Android App settings.

Creating Accounts Using GACW Phone App

  1.  Open GACW, Android Fitbit App, Google Auth on Fitbit device
  2. Go to accounts page on Fitbit device and press beacon icon (top-right button)
  3. Device pairing dialogs will show on Fitbit and GACW:

Pic. 19 Pairing

4. Enter PIN from Fitbit to GACW and press enter. If paring is successful, you’ll see a confirmation message

5. Choose Ok button on Fitbit and GACW to close dialogs.

6. Beacon icon should be green on Fitbit’s accounts page. Fitbit icon will show up in GACW’s toolbar and “send to watch” button on the bottom-left will turn green. Select account that you want to transfer and press low left button on GACW to send them to Fitbit. If transfer is successful, you’ll see “accounts received” message on Fitbit.

   

Pic. 20 Accounts in GACW

7. Tap an account on Fitbit to see a token

Creating Accounts Manually

For each account that you want to create you’ll need:

  • Arbitrary account name, e.g. “Google”;
  • Shared secret in Base32 form.

 

  1. In Android’s Fitbit App find Google Auth and open its settings:

Pic. 21 Accounts in Fitbit’s Settings

2. Tap “Add Account” link and add a new account in the form: Account:SharedSecret. Make sure that there is no any errors in “Errors” section below.

Pic. 22 Settings Page

3. On Fitbit’s device tap left-top button to import accounts from setting. An “accounts received” page will show up if import is successful.

Pic. 23 Accounts Page

Known Issues

Issues that have been fixed

  1. An issue specific to Android 8.0 has been identified: the Android companion crashes with a Runtime Exception. The issue was attributed to the “new behavior” of Android 8.0 and is considered by many as a platform bug: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/48072438/java-lang-illegalstateexception-only-fullscreen-opaque-activities-can-request-o. That issue has been fixed in GAC version 3.4.1. Please report if you still see this problem.
  2. Progress bar might not work correctly on some older Android’s phone models: it didn’t go all the way to the end and didn’t refresh the tokens. The issue has been fixed in GAC version 3.4.0.
  3. There was a complain that camera can’t scan QR code on Pixel 2. Unfortunately, no details have been provided. Research has shown that Pixel 2 had many problems with camera in other apps as well. One suggestions was to use 16:9 resolution, which I did for Pixel2 and Pixel 2 XL devices only. Try Android’s version 3.4.5+ and let me know if it works. A ticket was opened with Google to investigate the issue, but they are very slow and I don’t have any confidence that they will ever find or fix it: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/77754219.
    Note: The latest message from Google was that it does work on Pixel and other Google devices. If you still have problems with those, please provide details.
  4. No support for Lollipop and lower versions. I’ve created a debug version for Lollipop. Try it and let me know if it works. If it doesn’t, please provide details and a log file (adb logcat -d >log.txt). You can install it from here: http://credelius.com/credelius/app-debug.apk (simply click on the link from your phone’s browser). You’ll need to enable install from 3rd parties to make it work: Settings->Security->Unknown Sources. I’ll merge that version with the main branch if see a need for Lollipop and a positive feedback. So far I’ve seen only one user who wanted it.

Under Investigation (happens rarely)

  1. Sometimes tapping on GAC widget doesn’t start the GAC app. If you see “Launching app” message too long and nothing happens, just tap the widget again. The root cause of the problem has not been identified yet. It could be platform related.
  2. On a very rare occasion, GAC widget can stop working and won’t react on a tap. It’s not clear why it’s happening, and reproducing is not possible, since it’s a very rare event. A work around for now: long press the widget and remove it, then add again. We’ll fix as soon as find a reason. It could be platform related.

20 thoughts on “Google Auth Client for Samsung Gear, Android, Android Wear, Fitbit

  1. I have a new Gear S3 but I can not find GAC or GACW in Samsung Store. I need to use iPhone for business. Any ideas hole to get Google Authenticator Codes to Gear S3 in combination with iPhone?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have a companion for iPhone.

      However, you can use an older “Client for Google Authenticator” app on the watch, since it doesn’t require a companion.

      Create gac-codes.mp3 file and put it to a Music folder on iPhone, then transfer it to Gear S3 as a music file. After this is done, you should be able to import your accounts on the watch using “Init from File” menu.

      The format of mp3 file is one line for an account:
      AccountName:secret

      Example
      Google:4ioe3cvjyae7w6bk2zas5nyhbynqf5xe

      If this method doesn’t work, you can always use “new account” menu on the watch. Typing on the watch is not fun, but it’s doable.

      Please let me know, which method worked.

  2. I have gear fit 2 and I want to use it for 2FA, but I found out that my smart watch isn’t on any of the supported wearable list.
    I also can’t find nither GAC or GACW on the samsung appstore.
    Is there an alternative way that I can get GAC/GACW for the Gear Fit2 or am I stuck without it?
    Will there be an update that will support my watch?

    • I currently don’t have it for Gear Fit series due small screen resolution, but I’ve noticed that Gear Fit2 resolution (width) was improved significantly, so I’ll take a look. It’s 216 now vs 360 in Gear S2-3 and Galaxy. Fitting existing UI to that screen might be still difficult.
      Thanks for bringing it up.

        • I don’t want to promise any date. I’ll take a look in a couple of days. If it’s just a matter of changing a style sheet, it could be fast, but if it requires re-factoring the code in many places, it can take some time.

          • Too bad
            No way to go around the official store?
            Like downloading homebrew apk’s for android and stuff?
            Anyway really thanks for checking it out for me!

          • It’s not apk in an Android store, it’s a wgt in a Samsung store. They don’t even have a simulator for this device type. We’ll need to wait until they release a full dev platform for these devices.

          • Created a beta for Fit 2, and tried to upload to the Samsung app store, but expectedly got an error. Wrote a message to Samsung support asking when they enable dev platform for this type of watches.
            Error
            Other than that beta is operational
            Menu
            Token
            Unlike Android, Samsung has a very difficult and obscure dev platform and no support for app side-loading. We’ll need to wait until they unlock the dev platform for Fit 2.

            Here is Samsung’s official answer. Not very encouraging.

            Dear Customer,

            Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

            Regarding your inquiry, we would like to inform you that, in order to register Gear Fit2 device for watch face, please check the Application Registration Guide > 5. Attachment > 1) Binary Extraction Information > ③ Galaxy Watch Device Recommendation Information > Fitnessband.

            However, if you request to register general Gear application for Gear Fit 2, not watch face, we are sorry to inform you that sellers who have a strategic partnership on 'Health & Fitness' field with Samsung only can provide general Gear applications for Gear Fit 2 and its SDK for Gear Fit 2 is not published publicly.

            We regret to inform you that you are not able to register general Gear applications for Gear Fit 2 and we ask you to understand it.

  3. How do i delete an account on gear s3? Somehow I have the same account added once with my email sign-in address and the second time with the renamed name for the account. I’ve tried selecting the one account in the phone app and the overwrite checkbox when syncing, but the watch won’t remove the original account. Is there a full account erase on the watch, or is removing and reinstalling the answer? There are limited actions on the watch app unless i missed something. Fyi i have limited file system access on the watch if i need it via tizen studio.

    • Wait, i got it.. in help on the watch it directed me on how to manage accounts. Not the most intuitive app, but I like the functionality, and it works good so far.

      Do you have a user manual on the website somewhere? I missed it if so.

  4. Thank you very much for this app, I use it regularly with my Galaxy Watch! I have a large number of accounts I’d like to use this with, but it seems the app is limited to 25. Is there any way to get beyond this?

    Thanks again!

    • I was trying to keep footprint small on watches since they have limited resources. How many accounts would you need? I need to set a maximum anyway.

      • 50 would be ideal as it would leave room for growth. I set 2FA for all accounts that support it, and although not absolutely necessary, it would be nice to have them all available on the watch. It’d also be great to use GACW as my only 2FA app, so perhaps a compromise could be made by being able to select in the phone app which accounts to push to the watch, up to the limit of 25 (or even smaller since the less-used ones could live on the phone).

        • All right, I’ve tested it on watches and Android phone, and think that I can increase the # of accounts to 100 for Android phones, Samsung, and Android Wear watches. You might see some slowness when scrolling on a Samsung watch (I’ve tested with Gear S2) when the # of accounts is bigger than 50, but it’s not that bad, and is definitely usable. On Android Wear, I didn’t see any slowness (tested it with a Huawei watch).

          Hopefully, Samsung App Store will approve it fast and you’ll get the new version by the end of this week.

          For Fitbit watched it will be still 25, sorry. That watch is really low end in regard of memory, and I was running to “out of memory” situation very often, so it’s already on the edge.

          • Thank you so much! I really appreciate the quick update! Do you have a Bitcoin Cash donation address?

          • Thank you for the suggestion. My BTC address is 1CRMQd91Lhm2EP8vSXcyyP2FsTfXXpAjF4

            The status of the app in Samsung App Store is still “Under device test”. It’s annoying, but this is how Samsung App Store works. I wrote them that they should’ve learned how to release fast from Google who releases new apps in minutes, but Samsung has their own mysterious ways of doing things, so we’ll need to wait 🙁

          • The new versions have been released. Make sure that you use GACW 3.5.0 on Samsung watch and 1.3.2 on Android. Updating only one app won’t help.

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