Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!
  • Did you order new AirTags? We've opened a dedicated AirTags forum.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,404
14,106


Apple introduced two-factor authentication (2FA) in 2015 to provide an enhanced level of security when accessing Apple ID accounts. With 2FA enabled, you'll be the only person who can access your account, regardless of whether someone learns your password - as the result of a hack or a phishing scam, for example - so it's well worth taking the time to enable the feature. In this article, we'll show you how.

How Two-Factor Authentication Works

2FA offers hardened security during login attempts by requesting that the user provides an extra piece of information only they would know.

2fa-verification-on-ios-800x296.jpg

With 2FA enabled on your Apple ID account, the next time you try to log in you will be automatically sent a six-digit verification code to all the Apple devices you have registered to that Apple ID. If you try to access the account from an unknown device or on the web, 2FA also displays a map on all registered devices with an approximate location of where the Apple ID login attempt occurred.

In basic terms, this is an improved version of Apple's older two-step verification method, which prompted users to send a four-digit code to a registered SMS-capable device. Apple automatically upgraded most two-step verification users to 2FA as of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, but if you're still on two-step verification for some reason, follow the steps below to manually upgrade to 2FA.

How to Turn Off Two-Step Verification


  1. Open a browser and go to appleid.apple.com

    Enter your Apple ID and password in the login fields.

    In the Security section of your account page, click the Edit button on the right.

    Check to make sure two-step verification is enabled rather than two-factor authentication, and click Turn off two-step verification.
How to Turn On Two-Factor Authentication in iOS

To turn on 2FA using an iPhone or iPad, it needs to be running iOS 9 or later. Note that if you're running iOS 10 or later and you have any other, older devices tied to your Apple ID that aren't compatible with 2FA, you'll receive a compatibility warning during the setup process.

On top of that, you'll also be asked to append a six-digit code to the end of your password whenever you authenticate a login on your older devices in future. You can potentially avoid this hassle by updating those devices to the latest version of iOS or macOS where possible.

With that in mind, perform the following steps on your iOS device:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap your Apple ID banner at the top of screen.

    Tap Password & Security.

    Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication, and then tap Continue on the next screen.

    Tap Turn On Anyway if you see a compatibility warning about older devices.

    Check your phone number is correct. (If it isn't, tap Use a Different Number at the bottom of the screen and input a new number.)

    Select Text message or Phone call for verification, and then tap Next.

    Enter your Passcode.
2fa-ios-e1517490695102-800x632.jpg

How to Turn On Two-Factor Authentication on a Mac

If it's a Mac you're using to enable two-factor authentication then make sure it's running OS X El Capitan or later. To turn on 2FA on Mac, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Apple (?) symbol in the menu bar at the top left of the desktop, and select System Preferences.

    Click the iCloud preferences pane.

    Click the Account Details button and select the Security tab.

    Click Turn on Two-Factor Authentication, and then click Continue in the drop-down pane.

    Check your phone number is correct and click Continue.
2fa-mac-2-800x551.jpg

Verification Codes

With 2FA enabled, you'll be prompted to enter a new verification code every time you log in to your Apple ID account using iCloud.com or another Mac or iOS device. These codes will automatically appear on devices that are already logged into your Apple ID, but you can also request them manually using an iPhone or iPad, like so:
  1. Open the Settings app and tap on your Apple ID banner at the top of the screen.

    Tap Password & Security.

    Tap Get Verification Code.
2fa-codes-800x600.jpg


Article Link: How to Secure Your Apple ID Using Two-Factor Authentication
 
Last edited:

jaaraya

macrumors newbie
Feb 5, 2018
1
0
User BEWARE!!
There's currently no way to recover your account using two factor authentication if you lose or forget your password and or the recovery key.
Without the recovery key the account and all its contents will be lost completely (all purchases)
The recovery key must be store in a "safe deposit box" outside the residence in case your house burns down i.e. Cal Wild Fires, floods, etc. and your recovery key was stored at home in a "safe" place.
DO NOT USE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION if you do not store your password and recovery key outside the residence or in another cloud account where it can be readily accessed.
 
Comment

twennywonn

macrumors regular
Mar 15, 2012
239
226
User BEWARE!!
There's currently no way to recover your account using two factor authentication if you lose or forget your password and or the recovery key.
Without the recovery key the account and all its contents will be lost completely (all purchases)
The recovery key must be store in a "safe deposit box" outside the residence in case your house burns down i.e. Cal Wild Fires, floods, etc. and your recovery key was stored at home in a "safe" place.
DO NOT USE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION if you do not store your password and recovery key outside the residence or in another cloud account where it can be readily accessed.


This is obviously by design for security reasons.
 
Comment

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
3,295
131
Around
User BEWARE!!
There's currently no way to recover your account using two factor authentication if you lose or forget your password and or the recovery key.
Without the recovery key the account and all its contents will be lost completely (all purchases)
The recovery key must be store in a "safe deposit box" outside the residence in case your house burns down i.e. Cal Wild Fires, floods, etc. and your recovery key was stored at home in a "safe" place.
DO NOT USE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION if you do not store your password and recovery key outside the residence or in another cloud account where it can be readily accessed.
Yes there is. With the old way (2 step verification) you needed a recovery key. This way they are doing now, you don’t. I’m actually helped a person recover their data and they got a phone call in 12 days and got their account unlocked.

Personally, I rather have it so I need a recovery key.
 
Comment

timborama

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
612
1,231
No way to recover if you lose your phone while travelling. Apple should allow two factor with a secondary email rather than phone number.
 
Comment

MacknTosh

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2015
135
242
When I log in using 2FA, the map that pops up always shows a log in attempt near London.

I live in Scotland, as do all my devices.

Anyone else have this issue?
 
Comment

timborama

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
612
1,231
And these people will be ther 1st to cry “why didn’t Apple better protect my data?”:rolleyes:
You mean people like you? If it’s an Apple breach then absolutely then Apple is to blame. If it’s a password breach then it’s on you. 2 factor won’t help again Apple server breach.
 
Comment

ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,477
4,639
Yep... you can even add your home phone and Apple will robo call you with the six digit code.
If you set someone up as a "trusted" number, do they get notified every single time you get an access code to get into an iCloud setting or whatever?

For whatever reason, every single time -- for example -- that I open iCloud.com in a browser I'm prompted for a code from a trusted device... even though I've checked "remember me" over and over.
 
Comment

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
31,537
11,216
California
If you set someone up as a "trusted" number, do they get notified every single time you get an access code to get into an iCloud setting or whatever?

For whatever reason, every single time -- for example -- that I open iCloud.com in a browser I'm prompted for a code from a trusted device... even though I've checked "remember me" over and over.

No it defaults to the main iCloud account. You would need to manually tell it to use one of the other numbers for the other person to get the code.
 
Comment

fairuz

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2017
2,486
2,589
Silicon Valley
Should be required, not just for security reasons but also for simplicity. I hate how there are multiple different tiers of authentication.
 
Comment

lederermc

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
800
675
Seattle
When I log in using 2FA, the map that pops up always shows a log in attempt near London.

I live in Scotland, as do all my devices.

Anyone else have this issue?
You internet provider probably has a private route to London before actually connecting you to the Internet. My location shows up about 20 miles south of where I actually live (Seattle, USA). BTW: I lived in Aberdeen a long time ago and loved it.
 
Comment

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
169
326
Edinburgh, UK
When I log in using 2FA, the map that pops up always shows a log in attempt near London.

I live in Scotland, as do all my devices.

Anyone else have this issue?

Do you run a VPN? As lederermc says, some networks re-route all traffic to a centralized server, which can show up as the approximate location.
 
Comment

fairuz

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2017
2,486
2,589
Silicon Valley
When I log in using 2FA, the map that pops up always shows a log in attempt near London.

I live in Scotland, as do all my devices.

Anyone else have this issue?
You could check your IP address on one of those IP address geolocation sites and see if that's what you get. I think IP address is the only thing that login attempt locator is based on.
 
Comment

Eric5273

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2009
768
502
New Jersey
I have a question:

I have two-factor authentication turned on and I own 2 apple devices, my iPhone and iPad Pro. Let’s suppose for some reason both devices were to get destroyed at the same time, for example in a house fire. What happens then?

Obviously I would still own the same phone number, and I could get a replacement phone, but how would I sign that new replacement iPhone into iCloud? Would Apple send the authentication code by regular text message to my new phone? (Because obviously without being signed into iCloud, I would not receive the authentication code in the normal push notification way)
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.