How to Go Passwordless on Your Microsoft Account

Although passwords are the default method of accessing most digital accounts, they are not as secure as fingerprints or other devices that can be used to unlock your account. If someone has your password and can guess it, they can pretend that you are anywhere in the world. This is especially true if two-factor authentication is not in place. Microsoft's recent decision to make passwordless logins is a welcome step towards better protection.
This is a transition that you should embrace. It is easier for someone (or automated hacking tools), to remember passwords that are easier to remember. They are more difficult to crack or guess, making them hard to remember. This can lead to frustration and extra hassle when you need to set up a new device. A good password manager can help you solve many of these problems, but getting rid of passwords completely is even better.

Microsoft wants to make the future password-free and gives users the chance to log in to their Microsoft accounts. This is what you use to access your Windows PCs, Xbox, Outlook email and OneDrive storage.

Microsoft Authenticator can now replace your password. Screenshot: David Nield via Microsoft

Although it's a significant shift, the traditional password method for Microsoft accounts is still an option. It's worth considering if you want to make your account safer and make your digital life easier.

Passwordless login:

You can change your Microsoft account password by using a code from Microsoft Authenticator, the Windows Hello biometric login (usually facial or fingerprint detection), a physical security code that you keep with yourself, or a text or email verification code.

These options may not be foolproof but they do require that you have something tangible with you (a key or phone) or access to another account. This is a significant improvement on a password and name that can be used from anywhere and can be stolen online.

Whatever method you choose to eliminate passwords, the Microsoft Authenticator app must be downloaded and installed first. Microsoft has not made its system compatible to other authenticator apps. The app will verify your identity by logging in with your Microsoft account email address.