[Tutorial] Enable two-step authentication for iCloud

Apple 2-Factor Authentication

The number of people who are completely irresponsible with their online accounts is staggering as most people have not yet realized that their digital life should be protected as much as their real one. Our online accounts hold vital personal information that can easily be used for malicious purposes by the right people and securing them should be top priority for everyone. An easy way to do that for iOS users is to enable two-factor verification for iCloud so allow me to explain how to do it and what will happen exactly after you have enabled.

Two-step authentication for iCloud explained

Whenever people hear about “two-step authentication” or “two-factor verification”, they frequently think of the security method as something too complex. Despite the name, however, the process is very simple. Once you enable it, logging in to secure areas means that Apple will send a security token (in the form of a text message) which you will need to enter in order to continue. Basically, an attacker would need to have access to your physical devices in order to bypass these security measures, something that is highly unlikely to happen to the average user.

Two-step authentication is required when you sign in iCloud, when you want to manage your account via “My Apple ID”, when you are making any purchase in a new device, when you want to get support for your Apple ID and finally, when you are trying to access FaceTime, iMessage and Game Center. More areas are added to this list over time so you may see two-factor verification elsewhere.

Enabling two-step verification

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure your Apple ID password is at least 8 characters long and that it contains at least one numerical character and one uppercase character. If it does not, you will need to change your password and wait for a couple of days before you can enable two-factor authentication.

  1. Go to My Apple ID and log in with your account.
  2. Click on “Password & Security” on the left sidebar.
  3. Answer the security questions and click on continue. In case you do not remember them, you will need to reset them.
  4. Look for the “Two-Step Verification” heading and click on the “Get started…” button beneath it.
  5. Read what Apple has to say about this security method and click on Continue.
  6. Click on “Get Started”.
  7. Enter your phone number and Apple will send you a text message containing the first verification code.
  8. A list of trusted devices will be presented to you. Click on the “Verify” button next to the trusted device to continue.
  9. Enter the verification code in the respective field and click on the “Verify” button
  10. When you are done, click on the Continue button.
  11. Make a note of your recovery key or print it out. It is vital that you do not store this on your computer because an attacker can easily recover it.
  12. Verify that you have copied the code by entering it in the next screen and click on “Confirm.
  13. Check the “I understand the conditions above” box and click on “Enable two-step Verification”.
  14. Click on the “Done” button and go check your emails as Apple will send you a message confirming that two-step verification has been enabled for your Apple ID.