Enable a virtual MFA device for your AWS account root user (console) - AWS Identity and Access Management

Enable a virtual MFA device for your AWS account root user (console)

You can use the AWS Management Console to configure and enable a virtual MFA device for your root user. To enable MFA devices for the AWS account, you must be signed in to AWS using your root user credentials.

To configure and enable a virtual MFA device for use with your root user (console)
  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console.

  2. On the right side of the navigation bar, choose your account name, and choose Security credentials. If necessary, choose Continue to Security credentials.

    Security credentials in the navigation menu
  3. In the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) section, choose Assign MFA device.

  4. In the wizard, type a Device name, choose Authenticator app, and then choose Next.

    IAM generates and displays configuration information for the virtual MFA device, including a QR code graphic. The graphic is a representation of the secret configuration key that is available for manual entry on devices that do not support QR codes.

  5. Open the virtual MFA app on the device.

    If the virtual MFA app supports multiple virtual MFA devices or accounts, choose the option to create a new virtual MFA device or account.

  6. The easiest way to configure the app is to use the app to scan the QR code. If you cannot scan the code, you can type the configuration information manually. The QR code and secret configuration key generated by IAM are tied to your AWS account and cannot be used with a different account. They can, however, be reused to configure a new MFA device for your account in case you lose access to the original MFA device.

    • To use the QR code to configure the virtual MFA device, from the wizard, choose Show QR code. Then follow the app instructions for scanning the code. For example, you might need to choose the camera icon or choose a command like Scan account barcode, and then use the device's camera to scan the QR code.

    • In the Set up device wizard, choose Show secret key, and then type the secret key into your MFA app.


    Make a secure backup of the QR code or secret configuration key, or make sure that you enable multiple MFA devices for your account. You can register up to eight MFA devices of any combination of the currently supported MFA types with your AWS account root user and IAM users. A virtual MFA device might become unavailable, for example, if you lose the smartphone where the virtual MFA device is hosted. If that happens and you are not able to sign in to your account with no additional MFA devices attached to the user or even by Recovering a root user MFA device, you will not be able to sign in to your account and you will have to contact customer service to remove MFA protection for the account.

    The device starts generating six-digit numbers.

  7. In the wizard, in the MFA code 1 box, type the one-time password that currently appears in the virtual MFA device. Wait up to 30 seconds for the device to generate a new one-time password. Then type the second one-time password into the MFA code 2 box. Choose Add MFA.


    Submit your request immediately after generating the code. If you generate the codes and then wait too long to submit the request, the MFA device successfully associates with the user but the MFA device is out of sync. This happens because time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) expire after a short period of time. If this happens, you can resync the device.

The device is ready for use with AWS. For information about using MFA with the AWS Management Console, see Using MFA devices with your IAM sign-in page.