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Managing Phone Changes in Your Duo Account

Last updated on Nov 29, 2023

Before you begin

During winter and summer breaks, many of our students return to their home country. Often, this involves switching phones or SIM cards to a local number. And then when they return to the US, they switch back to a local phone or SIM card.

Unfortunately, this often leaves students unable to log into their CCA account because their Duo 2-factor account is associated with a phone number that is no longer active. Resolving this issue requires a all to the Help Desk, which can be a challenge due to limited availability (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, closed over the winter break).

If you will be changing your phone or SIM card for travel, we strongly encourage you to use one of these methods to avoid problems accessing your CCA account over winter break or once back in the US. For all of these options, you need to complete the steps PRIOR to leaving the country where your active phone is currently registered with Duo.

Option 1: Add your new phone as a new device while you still have access to your old phone.

If this is an option for you, it’s easy to add a second phone number to your Duo account so that either number can be used to authenticate. Follow this guide to add a new device:

IMPORTANT: You will need to FIRST authenticate into Duo with an existing device on your account, and then you’ll be able to add a new phone. So this option only works if BOTH phones are active at the same time.

Option 2: Purchase and set up a Security Key

If you cannot use either of the above options, you can purchase a security key and add it to your Duo account. A security key is a physical device that plugs into your computer, and can be used INSTEAD of a phone to authenticate with Duo.

  • This is a low-cost security key that we have verified works well with Duo. It relies on a USB-C port on your computer.
  • Once you have the security key, you can follow this guide to add the security key as a new device in your Duo account: Select “Security Key” as the device option.

After you change countries/phone numbers, you can use the security key on your computer to log into your Duo account, and add your new phone number as an additional device, following this guide:

A security key will ONLY work when logging in on your laptop, so will not work in some situations. We recommend adding a security key as a second device, in addition to a mobile phone number.

Option 3: Add Touch ID as a second Duo device.

This option only works on a laptop that is equipped with Touch ID. We discourage people from relying ONLY on Touch ID, as it does not work in some situations, e.g. on your phone, when using VPN. However, it can work as a bridge that allows you to add a new phone number after you change countries. To add Touch ID as a second Duo device, follow this guide: Select “Touch ID” as the device option.

Once Touch ID is added and you change countries/phone numbers, you can authenticate into your Duo account using Touch ID, and then add your new phone as a new device.

We DO NOT RECOMMEND using Touch ID as the only device in your Duo account, only as a second device. Touch ID only works on a laptop equipped with Touch ID, and when using the browser. There are some situations where Touch ID will not work, such as when logging in on your phone or when logging into CCA VPN. If you would like to use Touch ID, be sure that you also have a mobile phone set up with your Duo account to use when Touch ID is not an option.

If you have any questions about these options, please reach out to the Help Desk at The Help Desk is available Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm.

PLEASE NOTE: the Help Desk will be closed over the winter break, Dec 23 to Jan 7.