Security

How to setup two-factor authentication for iCloud

Two-factor authentication has become a must-have for every service and site you use. Apple's iCloud is no exception. Here's how to set this up with iCloud and your smartphone.

If you happen to be one of the millions of iCloud users, you may remember that iCloud recently fell victim to a hack that could expose passwords and credit card information. These breaches are growing more and more prevalent, with every passing month. To that end, it has become incredibly important to take every possible step you can to secure your data

Fortunately, with iCloud, you can easily set up two-factor authentication, such that it becomes far more challenging for anyone to break into your account and steal your data. It's not a 100% guarantee, but it's exponentially better than the standard username/password authentication.

I want to show you how easy it is to enable two-factor authentication using a Macbook Pro (running High Sierra) and a OnePlus 3 Android device (running Android 7.1.1). The smartphone platform doesn't really matter—as we're going to be sending texts to a phone number.

iCloud Settings

To begin, open up System Preferences | iCloud. In the resulting window, click Account Details and (when prompted) enter the password for your Apple account (not the password for your macOS device). Click the Security tab and then click Turn On Two-Factor Authentication (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Enabling two-factor authentication.

In the resulting window (Figure B), you will be prompted to enter a valid phone number and then select Text message under the verification section.

Figure B

Figure B

Adding the phone number to be used for two-factor authentication.

A text will be sent, to the number you configured, that includes a six-digit authorization code. A new popup will also appear (Figure C), that requires you enter that six-digit code.

Figure C

Figure C

Ready for your six-digit code.

Retrieve the six-digit code from your phone, type it in the popup window on your macOS device, and click Continue.

That's all there is to it. Now, when you attempt to log into iCloud, you will be prompted for a new two-factor authentication code (Figure D) that will be sent (as a text message) to the phone number you configured within iCloud Settings.

Figure D

Figure D

Logging into iCloud now prompts you for the two-factor code.

And that's all there is to setting up two-factor authentication, such that you can use it with your smartphone of choice.

A must-do

Security has become a serious issue. If you think you're immune to the ways of the hacker, think again. Anything you can do to better secure your data should be considered a must-do. Setting up iCloud two-factor authentication is no exception. Get this working as quickly as possible and rest assured your iCloud data is a bit more secure than it was before.

Also see

icloudhero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox