If you aren’t using two-factor authentication to protect your Apple ID and iCloud account, you really should do it today. Hackers who claim to have millions of stolen iCloud credentials are demanding Apple pay a ransom or they’ll release them—and ZDNet obtained a sample set of credentials and determined they’re real.
But guess what? Using two-factor authentication should protect you completely. It’s easy to set up, so take a minute and do it now.
You used to be able to set up two-factor on the account settigs page at appleid.apple.com, 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—see below for more.)
Follow these steps on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 9 or later. The iOS device must be protected with a passcode (Settings > Touch ID and Passcode).
Once you set up two-factor on an iOS device, you’ll see a code pop up when you try to log in to iCloud anywhere else. If you don’t see a pop-up or get a text message, you can cme back to this Settings > iCloud screen and tap Get Verification Code. (Click to enlarge.)
- 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. Then 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.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.