After previously offering two-factor authentication to a select group, Instagram announced on Thursday that the security feature would be rolling out to all users, effective immediately.
For those unfamiliar, two-factor authentication is a method of improving security that requires an additional piece of evidence to prove that the person trying to access an account is the owner of that account. For example, you might input a password, and then be required to answer a security question or input a number that was sent to your phone via SMS.
The offering was officially announced in a blog post on the company's website, alongside a host of other new features. According to the post, "This tool adds an extra layer of security to your Instagram account by requiring a code every time you log in."
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To enable the feature, start by opening your Instagram app on your smartphone and tapping on the user profile icon on the bottom right (it looks like a person). From there, tap the options icon in the top right portion of the screen (it looks like a gear).
From the options screen, scroll down until you find "Account" and tap on the option that says "Two-Factor Authentication."
Now, simply tap or drag the slider next to "Require Security Code" until in turns blue. It's important to note that if you haven't already added a phone number to your account, you will be required to do so at this point. A pop-up will show up asking you to add your phone number. Tap "Add Number" in the pop-up.
On the next screen, enter your phone number that you want associated with your account, and then tap "Next" in the upper right hand portion of the screen. At this point an SMS message will be sent to the phone number you entered, containing a six-digit code. Copy that code and enter it on the next page to finish the process.
After you have used the SMS message code to enable two-factor authentication, Instagram will present you with a page of backup codes that can be used to access your account if you are unable to receive an SMS in the future. Instagram recommends screenshotting the page, and offers options to "Copy Codes" and "Take Screenshot" on the page. In the future, backup codes can be access by tapping the options icon again and tapping on the "Two-Factor Authentication" tab.
Once complete, you can back out to the home page in the app. From now on, every time you are signed out of Instagram, you will need both your password and the SMS code to log in.
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Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.