Forget SMS 2FA, use your iPhone’s built-in two-factor authentication instead

Two-factor authentication or 2FA is absolutely necessary to better protect your online accounts from hackers. A long and complicated password is fine, but if your password is compromised, you may be screwed. However, having 2FA enabled adds another layer of security to your accounts, requiring you to verify your identity even after entering your password.

And while text messaging is by far the most popular method of verifying your identity via 2FA, authentication apps like Google Authenticator are preferred because they’re more secure (it’s easier for attackers to remotely spoof your text messages, especially when swapping SIMs) . It’s one of the reasons Elon Musk is trying to stop SMS-based two-factor authentication on Twitter (unless you pay for Twitter Blue).

However, if you are an iPhone user, you don’t need to download any third-party apps to get better two-factor authentication protection on your device. Apple has a built-in authenticator to protect all websites and apps that support this feature. Here’s how to set it up.

And if you’re interested in better protecting your accounts, check out the best password managers for 2023 and learn how to transfer your Google Authenticator accounts if you bought a new phone.

How to set up iOS’s built-in two-factor authentication feature

First, launch the “Settings” application on your iPhone and go to “Passwords”. Use Face or Touch ID to access your passwords, then tap the account you want to set up 2FA for.

Note: This method of two-factor authentication does not work with every website or app.

Next, tap Set up verification code and a menu will appear with two options:

READ :  You should probably skip the Galaxy S23

Enter the setup KeyScan QR code

Go to Settings -> Passwords -> Set up verification code to set up 2FA.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

These are your two options for setting up 2FA and can be found on the website of the account you want to secure. To continue, go to the website, log in with your credentials, then go to the website account settings. There isn’t a single place where you can find the setup key or QR code for 2FA, but generally you should find it under “Passwords” or “Two-Factor Authentication”.

In this example, we’ll use the setup key found in Account Settings on Mega’s website. If you see a setup key, just copy it to your clipboard, then go back to the Settings app on your iPhone and select the “Enter Setup Key” option. Next, paste the setup key and then click OK. Once you do this, a verification code will appear.

Go back to the website you got the setup key from and enter the verification code to activate 2FA. You don’t need to enter the setup key manually as it should appear at the top of your keyboard so you can just tap on it to enter it. However, you must enter the setup key quickly because it changes every 30 seconds.

If you use the setup key option, paste it into the settings when prompted, then enter the verification code on the website.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If you use the Scan QR Code option, the process is pretty much the same, but instead of manually entering the setup key, you simply scan the QR code with your smartphone’s camera. However, this option may not be ideal if you do everything on your smartphone. So really only use this option if you are accessing the site on another device.

READ :  Use live text to digitize your cookbooks

When you’re done, two-factor authentication should be enabled for this website. Each time you log in to this website in the future, you will also be prompted to enter a verification code generated by the built-in feature.

First published Feb 17, 2022 at 4:30pm PT.