How to activate Two-Factor Authentication for your Apple ID

Macworld Australia Staff
8 March, 2018
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Security, apple, mac, ios, macworld australiaIt has been almost three years since Apple introduced Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), ensuring an enhanced layer of security for those logging into Apple ID accounts and guarding against the threat of unwanted attempts to gain access to users’ accounts. Once 2FA is enabled, only you can gain access to your Apple ID account, regardless of whether a cybercriminal has managed to obtain access to your password through means such as phishing or automated password discovery. That’s because the password is only half of what’s needed to log in with 2FA. You’ll also be required to submit a six-digit verification code that regenerates every 60 seconds.

Historically, cybercriminals have used social engineering attacks such as phishing to obtain the Apple ID login credentials of consumers around the world. By masquerading as a trusted organisation and simulating the landing pages of well-known companies whose services the victim uses, hackers can obtain sensitive information – which, in this case, would enable them to do things such as make unauthorised purchases using Apple IDs. The new 2FA process is a step up from Apple’s previous system, Two-Step Verification, which sent users a four-digit code to a registered smartphone for input at login. Those using iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra should have automatically upgraded to 2FA, but if you’re still using Two-Step Verification, here’s how to quickly activate this new and improved security measure for your Apple ID account.

Switch off Two-Step Verification

All you need to do to switch off the old login authentication is to visit Submit your Apple ID and password and enter your account. Once inside your Apple account, find the Security tab and click the ‘Edit’ button on the right-hand side. Within this tab, you can click ‘Turn off Two-Step Verification’. Voila, easy as that!

Turning on 2FA in iOS

If you have an iPad or iPhone that needs 2FA, you’ll need to make sure that your device is running at least iOS 9, or preferably a newer version. Open the Settings application on your iOS device and enter the Password & Security section. Click the ‘Turn On Two-Factor Authentication’ button and hit ‘Continue’ to get to the next page. In the event you receive a compatibility warning about using 2FA on older devices, simply click the ‘Turn On Anyway’ button and proceed. Ensure the phone number displayed on your 2FA profile is correct. You must then choose whether to receive your 2FA passcode via text message or phone call. Select your preference and then hit the ‘Next’ button. You’ll then receive your six-digit passcode via your chosen method, allowing you to enter the passcode.

Turning on 2FA on a Mac

In order to use 2FA, ensure your Mac is running OS X El Capitan or a newer version. Then select the Apple symbol in the menu bar of your desktop and click ‘System Preferences’. Choose ‘iCloud’ from the choice of preferences and then the ‘Account Details’ button. Find the ‘Security’ tab within the Account Details section and you’ll see ‘Two-Factor Authentication’. Click ‘Turn On Two-Factor Authentication’ and hit ‘Continue’ in the drop-down. Follow the same instructions as the iOS to choose a preferred method to receive your six-digit passcode. Once 2FA is enabled, you will be asked to submit a new six-digit verification code each time you log in to your Apple ID account via iCloud or any other Apple device. These codes will appear automatically on devices already logged in to your account, but you can also ask for them to be distributed manually via an iPad or iPhone. 2FA is a must-have additional layer of security for your Apple devices. It protects your photos, documents and other sensitive data stored with Apple, allowing you to focus on using your smartphones, tablets and desktops with complete peace of mind.

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