If you just need the answer skip to the next section.

I recently had a very unpleasant experience while attending a conference. I wanted to get my hardware key from my Yubikey via NFC on my phone like I have done dozens of times before, but this time was different. I turned on NFC, opened the app and realized it was updated. I usually love updates, but I absolutely detest updates that make everything pretty, but make the quality of life using the app a terrible experience. I tapped my Yubikey and then I saw a message that confused me and scared me “No accounts”. WHAT?

I scrambled while trying to figure out what when wrong as I sat uncomfortably in a crowded hall of my 900 coworkers. Trying to figure out why the hell the one job this app has isn’t working.


Turns out that this feature does still work, so don’t panic (like I did). Who ever did the UX didn’t think to include an indicator of any kind that your hardware key is copied to the clip board. However, before it will even do that you have to make a settings change.

  1. Open the Authenticator App
  2. Touch the hamburger menu on the top left
  3. Touch Settings
  4. Under NFC options touch On YubiKey NFC tap
  5. In the modal select one of these two options:
    • Copy OTP to clipboard
    • Launch app and copy OTP
  6. Close out of the dialogues
  7. Tap your Yubikey
  8. You should see a toast message near the bottom of your screen that says that your key was copied to the clip board. This unfortunately only seems to happen the first time you tap (not helpful).

Additional considerations

  • Please note that the initial option Launch Yubico Authenticator is useless for NFC tap and unfortunately the default option. Hence why when you tap your Yubikey initially NOTHING HAPPENS which leads to unnecessary panic.
  • While I was at my conference, I did mess with these settings, but every time I tapped I just kept seeing the “No accounts” message which was freaking me out. Turns out it did copy to my clip board, but because the toast message only appears the first time, I must have missed it the first time it happened.

Leave them a review

I recommend leaving them a review, especially if this pissed you off as much as it did for me. This is literally a situation of “You had ONE JOB”. All of the angry reviews are warranted in my opinion. It’s as if this version of the app was not QA’d. That’s the general sentiment of the angry reviews. It looks pretty, but it doesn’t work well.

Yubico, you guys wrought this on yourselves.

I was very reluctant to get into any hardware key eco-systems and this is partially why. I will say that I do love my Yubikey, but the app can’t be this obtuse to use. Totally unacceptable. It should QUICK and EASY.

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