If you’re already using two-factor authentication for your Twitter account, great! But with the company’s announcement Friday night that it would be phasing out two-factor authentication via SMS for everyone but its paying Twitter Blue subscribers, you might suddenly be wondering what a person should do once they secure their Twitter account want to hold?
Fear not: While these changes may have been hastily and questionably enacted, there is a silver lining here. Two-factor authentication via an authenticator app is more secure than using SMS, and even better if you’re using a recent version of iOS, iPadOS or macOS, not only is the ability to set up this feature directly, the operating system integrates it , but the system even auto-fills the password for you every time you log in.
How to set it up:
First, launch Twitter, either on the web or in the app. From the toolbar on the left, tap the More button (the one with the three dots), then tap Settings & Support; From the menu that appears there, tap Settings & Privacy.
This will take you to the account section of your Twitter settings; Tap the entry for “Security and account access,” then tap Security on the right side of the screen.
You’ll see an entry for “Two-Factor Authentication”: tap it and you’ll be given options for the different ways to secure your account. Tap the checkbox for “Authenticator App” and a dialog box will appear asking you to get started.
fun so far, right?
This is where it gets a little tricky, depending on what device you’re using. To set up the two-factor codes, you will be given a QR code. While in some apps and websites macOS/iOS can actually recognize the QR code that appears on the screen so you can tap and hold it to set up the feature, this hasn’t happened to me on Twitter on iPad. That leaves two more options for configuring this feature.
Scan this QR code with another iOS device to set up two-factor authentication.
If you happen to have an iOS device handy, you can point its camera at the QR code on your screen. In the camera app, when you hover over the QR code, you should see a yellow balloon saying Add verification code to Twitter.com appears. Tapping it will open the iOS Passwords section and prompt you to add the verification code to an existing account. Find your Twitter login, tap on it and you should be prompted to save the verification code there.
If you don’t have an iOS device handy, you can do the process manually. Tap “Can’t scan the QR code?” in the dialog box and you’ll be prompted with a long string of characters instead. Copy this and go to the Passwords section of System Preferences, where you will need to authenticate with your passcode or biometrics. Then find your Twitter login, tap on it and select the Set up verification code button. You will be prompted to either scan the QR code or enter the setup key – choose the latter, paste the string you just copied and click OK.
You should now see a new section that displays a six-digit code along with a timer that counts down. Copy this code and return to the Twitter website to paste it. (The operating system should also offer to automatically fill it in for you when you tap the verification code feature.)
That’s it! The hardest part is over and now when you log into Twitter in the future, the operating system should automatically fill in the two-factor code, just like it did for your username and password.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at [email protected] The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
If you love articles like this, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a dedicated community.