By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 22, 2013 10:02 AM EDT
Apple is beefing up its customers' online security by joining the list of companies adopting an optional extra password called two-factor authentication or two-step verification.
In other words, Apple ID users now have the option to receive a verification code to an authorized device when signing in. The optional extra password is generated by an app to protect Apple ID and iCloud accounts.
The two-step authentication process adds an additional barrier of security between user accounts and potential hackers. This extra security measure comes in the form of a four-digit code, which Apple will send to an authorized device via the Find My iPhone app or SMS, after the user enters his/her password. Apple two-step authentication is a big step toward securing Apple ID user accounts, so here's how to set it up:
First of all, visit the Apple ID settings page, select "Manage your Apple ID" and log in to the account for which you want to enable the two-step authentication process.
Select the "Password and Security" option on the left side of the screen and click the "Get Started" link to enable two-step verification for the account in question.
After clicking the "Get Started" link, apple will take you on a trip to a couple of Web pages explaining just what two-step authentication means. It is worth noting that the process will eliminate security questions and you will be the only person able to request a password reset. Make sure to keep your Recovery Key in a safe place (details at Step 5).
Once you read and acknowledge the guidelines, add a device (or more) to your account, granting permission to receive the four-digit code. Those who use one Apple ID for App Store purchases and another for iCloud services will need to set up the App Store account for SMS only. The iCloud-only account, meanwhile, will be able to use both SMS and Find My Phone to get the code. You can link the same phone number to more than one Apple ID.
Once you've completed Step 4, you will receive your Recovery Key, which is an essential piece of information in terms of keeping your account secure. Make sure to keep it in a safe place, preferably in multiple copies (print it, write it down, take a screenshot, whatever does the trick for you). If you ever forget your password or lose a registered device, it is this Recovery Key that will grant you access to your account. After showing you your Recovery Key, Apple will also ask it to type it in to verify you have it right, and you can't copy/paste the key from the previous step.
Lastly, to complete the final step, you have to agree once again to the terms and conditions of enabling two-factor authentication for your account. Agree and you're done.
The process takes just a few minutes, and the security benefits are worth it. The extra layer of security significantly lowers the risk of someone hacking into your account. For more information about the two-step verification process check out Apple's FAQ page.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.