Azure MFA "Activation Failed" error with Microsoft Authenticator App

Silver Contributor

We've opened a premier ticket, but has anyone in the community seen this error before?  We've got a few users that can't set up the Microsoft Authenticator app, and nothing we do is working.  This is rolling out to all of our users overnight tonight, and none of our global testing has run into anything like this.



11 Replies

@Brent Ellis I know it's an old post, but I'm just looking into the same error now, so am curious if anything ever came of this one?  I've got one user who has an older phone (iPhone 5) and we're getting the same error message.  Have checked push notifications on the device too.  Reinstalled the Authenticator app and still no dice (hence hitting the forums now).

I already posted a separate reply, but in the time since...  I may have found a solution.  I don't like coming across posts without something to try, so wanted to add my steps here (you never know when someone else is looking for it).  Again though (here comes the disclaimer), this is an old post (no further info from the original case, so it could be that we're dealing with 2 different issues).  Whilst my error message matched exactly that shared in the original post, from the research I did it looks like there may be other error messages that could be the same/similar issue (and don't mention 'push notifications' in the error).


To be clear, we were seeing this error for one user at the point of scanning a QR code in the Microsoft Authenticator app to add an account (Office 365 account where we had just enabled the user's MFA).


First, probably worth sharing the first few basic things we tried;

- Try again

- Try manually with code and URL

- Try configuring MFA through an incognito/private window

- Check device push notifications

- Check device permissions

- Check device for latest OS and app updates

- Deleted and reinstalled the MS Authenticator app

- Disable and re-enable user's MFA (requires admin)


I found a link in a separate Microsoft Support article (which may still be useful...  Link within the article didn't work for me, but am assuming that could be our Azure subscription or the age of the link (article is 2016).

Essentially, we're trying to check if the user's MFA has been blocked.


Whilst the link contained within the above article did not work, this did (as a global admin);

- Go to Azure portal

- Go to Azure Active Directory

- Go to MFA

- Go to Block/unblock users


My problem user was listed there.


- Press Unblock

- Provide Reason

- Press OK


All that remains now is to know why they got blocked in the first place (parking that for a rainy day...  or someone else)

This is extremely helpful, Thank you @Dave Palmer 

@Dave Palmer Thank you very much for sharing this! Was trying everything to fix the same issue and was about to submit a ticket to Microsoft when I came across your post. 

Brilliant - thanks for sharing! Exactly what I needed

Dave wanted to thank you for your post.  I was experiencing the same issue and your instructions resolved it. In our case the user got a pop up about blocking a personal account and when she did it blocked her on Azure's MFA.@Dave Palmer 

Thank you so much! This was very helpful!

With the new entra id, I wasn't finding what to click.
is where I ended up and it worked as you said.
I got there from
users (left menu)
active users (left menu)
Multi-Factor authentication (top bar)
service settings (top bar, I didn't ever notice this before)

Manage advanced settings and view reports Go to the portal (very bottom)
block/unblock users (left menu)

The last suggestion was the fix that worked. Thank you!