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Frequently Asked Questions

The information on this page provides general information about Multi-factor Authentication. Instructions for registering and managing your registered device are available in the IT Knowledge Base.

What should I do if I lost/misplaced my registered phone or my phone is not working properly?

If you have lost/misplaced your registered phone or your phone is not functioning, contact the IT Service Desk at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP), option 2 or email for assistance.

What if I don’t have a mobile phone?

If you do not have a mobile phone, you can use a hardware token that generates passcodes or a traditional telephone for phone call notifications. Contact the IT Service Desk at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP), option 2 or for additional information.

Should I register more than one device? 

Yes. Upon initial registration, Northwestern recommends that you register more than one device, including a mobile phone, tablet,  office phone, and home phone. When prompted, you will be able to choose which registered device you want to use to authenticate.

Why is Northwestern recommending using the Duo Mobile app to confirm my identity?

To ensure you always have the ability to authenticate into  the University's systems, use the Duo Mobile app. The app is recommended because is it quicker than a text or phone call, and it adds an additional layer of security. Duo Mobile works on every device, including smartwatches. Having the app is especially important if you travel outside the United States, as it can be used over wireless anywhere in the world. It also give you the option to use stored passcodes when you don't have access to wireless at all.

What are my options if I have limited or no cell phone coverage?

If you have a smartphone, register it to receive notifications via the Duo Mobile app. If you don't have a smartphone and have limited cell coverage, consider using a hardware token or registering a tablet or land line.

How do I register a phone with an international (non-U.S.) phone number?

Whether you are registering your phone to receive a notification via the Duo Mobile app or a phone call, you will enter your international phone number in the following format: plus sign, country code, and phone number. For example: +974 XXX XXXXX for a Qatari phone number.

What should I do if I get a new/replacement phone?

If you kept the same phone number, replaced your phone with a new phone of the same type (e.g., replaced an Android with another Android, or replaced your old iPhone with a newer model), and use Duo Mobile for notifications, follow these instructions.

How do I confirm my identity using a Duo passcode?

Currently, entering a passcode capability is only available if you have registered your phone to receive a notification via the Duo Mobile app.

Once prompted to confirm your identity, you can use the Passcode provided within the Duo Mobile App. Please note: the Passcode is only active for a short period of time (up to one minute) after that time, you will need to use a new passcode from the Duo Mobile app.

What if I am unable to complete the registration process or I receive an error message during the registration process?

If you are unable to complete the registration process for any reason, contact the IT Service Desk at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP), option 2 or If possible, please provide a screen shot or text of the error message(s) you received.

What if I am a member of OLLI, an affiliate, or a guest of Northwestern and have a NetID, but do not have an @u. or email address to use to sign-into Duo?

Please use [your NetID],  i.e.,, when prompted for an email on the Microsoft sign-in page and then continue with the sign-in steps as prompted.

Last Updated: 24 June 2022

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