Set up two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion for iCloud

Susie Ochs ex­plains what to do

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

If you aren’t us­ing two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion to pro­tect your Ap­ple ID and iCloud ac­count, you re­ally should do it to­day. Us­ing two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion should pro­tect you com­pletely. It’s sim­ple to set up, so take a minute and do it now.

You used to be able to set up two-fac­tor on the ac­count set­tings page at ap­pleid.ap­, but now this has to be done on a Mac or iOS de­vice. (Ap­ple ID users who don’t have a com­pat­i­ble de­vice can still use an older two-step ver­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem.)


Fol­low these steps on a de­vice run­ning iOS 9 or later. The iOS de­vice must be pro­tected with a pass­code (Set­tings > Touch ID and Pass­code).

■ Launch the Set­tings app, and go to iCloud. Ob­vi­ously you need to be signed in with the ac­count you want to pro­tect with two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion

■ Tap your Ap­ple ID. It doesn’t re­ally look like a but­ton, but it is. Tap Pass­word & Se­cu­rity in the next menu

■ Tap Turn on two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion. You’ll see an ex­pla­na­tion screen, and tap Con­tinue

■ You may be asked to ver­ify your iden­tity by an­swer­ing the se­cu­rity ques­tions you set up when you cre­ated your Ap­ple ID

■ Next, en­ter a phone num­ber where you can re­ceive a text mes­sage or a phone call with a two-fac­tor code. You can also spec­ify if you want a text or a call. Then you’ll get that text mes­sage or call, and en­ter the six-digit ver­i­fi­ca­tion code on the next screen

■ That’s it. Two-fac­tor is on, and this is your of­fi­cial Trusted De­vice. The next time you sign on to iCloud. com, or set up your iCloud ac­count on a new de­vice, you’ll have to first en­ter your user­name and pass­word, and then be prompted to en­ter a code. That code will come in a pop-up on your trusted de­vice, texted/phoned to the num­ber you pro­vided, or, you can come back to this screen and tap Get Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Code


Set­ting this up on a Mac is nearly the same steps as on an iOS de­vice. The Mac must be run­ning OS X 10.11, El Cap­i­tan.

■ Open Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and se­lect iCloud. Click the Ac­count De­tails but­ton, and sign in if prompted

■ In the Se­cu­rity tab, click the but­ton la­belled Turn on two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion. Read the mes­sage and click Con­tinue

■ Ver­ify your iden­tity by an­swer­ing se­cu­rity ques­tions

■ En­ter a phone num­ber you can use to re­ceive ver­i­fi­ca­tion codes, and choose if you want to get text mes­sages or calls

■ En­ter the code that’s sent to you to fin­ish up

What if my de­vice is too old?

If your Mac isn’t run­ning El Cap­i­tan, or your iOS de­vice isn’t run­ning iOS 9, you can still use two-step ver­i­fi­ca­tion, which is slightly dif­fer­ent than two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion, mostly be­cause it re­lies on a text mes­sage be­ing sent to a phone num­ber, while the newer ‘au­then­ti­ca­tion’ is baked more seam­lessly into the oper­at­ing sys­tems. Plus, the older ver­i­fi­ca­tion method re­quires you to hold onto a Re­cov­ery Key in case you ever lose your pass­word.

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