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Time-based one-time passwords (TOTP)

Time-based one-time passwords are codes made up of digits, that are valid for a short amount of time, usually 30 seconds or less. Users generate these passwords with companion apps such as Google Authenticator or FreeOTP and enter them when asked to provide their second authentication factor.

When accessing resources protected with the second-factor requirement, the paired application generates a one-time password that expires after a certain time. Users must input this password before it expires to authenticate and perform the protected actions.

You can enable Time-Based One-Time Password (TOTP) authentication in Ory Identities (Kratos) to allow users to perform 2FA with TOTP apps such as Google Authenticator, LastPass, or FreeOTP.

When enabled, users can pair a TOTP app to their account:


The example screenshot is captured using the Ory Account Experience.

TOTP linking in Ory Account Experience

When attempting to perform actions while having 2FA enabled, users are asked to enter the short code in the Ory Identities UI. This proves that they have access to their chosen second factor.

2FA with Google Authenticator


In this example, the user identifier (email - [email protected]) is used. To learn how to enable this behavior, read Distinguishing identities requesting TOTP.

Enabling TOTP authentication

  1. Go to AuthenticationTwo-factor auth in the Ory Console.

  2. In the TOTP Authenticator App section, use the switch to enable TOTP.

  3. Define the name of the requesting party in the Display Name. The users see this name in the TOTP application when getting a one-time password.

  4. Click Save.

    TOTP setup in Ory Console

  5. After TOTP has been enabled for the Ory Network project, each user is responsible for enabling TOTP in their own account by pairing their account with a TOTP app.


    In the Ory Account Experience, users are not automatically prompted to enable TOTP for their accounts. To enable TOTP, users must sign in to their accounts and go to the Authenticator App section of the Account Settings page.

Custom identity schema

By default, the identity schema is preconfigured to display the user's email address when requesting the TOTP short code. If you are working with a custom identity schema, however, you must ensure that the identity schema is properly configured to work with TOTP.

Distinguishing identities requesting TOTP

To help users distinguish which identity the registered TOTP code belongs to, add a totp section to the identity schema section of the trait you want to show up in the TOTP app.

For example, to select the user's email address as the identifier for TOTP:

sample identity schema
"$schema": "",
"type": "object",
"properties": {
"traits": {
"type": "object",
"properties": {
"email": {
"type": "string",
"format": "email",
"title": "Your E-Mail",
"minLength": 3,
"": {
"credentials": {
// ...
"totp": {
"account_name": true
// ...
// ...
// ...

Writing E2E tests

When writing end-to-end (E2E) tests for TOTP implementation in your app, you can reference the Cypress tests used in Ory Identities (Ory Kratos).

Identity credentials

When the user enables TOTP, Ory adds the following entries to the credentials object of the associated Identity:

id: totp
- 802471b9-06f5-49d4-a88d-5e7d6bcfed22
# This is the TOTP URL which contains the pre-shared key and some additional meta-information.
totp_url: otpauth://totp/Example:[email protected]?secret=JBSWY3DPEHPK3PXP&issuer=Example