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Apple has finally rolled out 2-step verification worldwide, so secure your Apple ID by enabling it right now. The security feature also known as 2-factor authentication uses two forms of ID What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card,... Read More – something you know and something you have in your possession (like your iPhone) – to prove your identity before granting access to your account.

Those with an Apple account will know how valuable it is to them. Aside from the fact that your personal details and credit card information 6 Warning Signs Of Digital Identity Theft You Shouldn't Ignore 6 Warning Signs Of Digital Identity Theft You Shouldn't Ignore Identity theft isn't too rare of an occurrence these days, yet we often fall into the trap of thinking that it'll always happen to "someone else". Don't ignore the warning signs. Read More is in there, access to your account means access to your music, movies, TV shows, and apps too. Lose your account and you could lose everything, which is pretty devastating – just read Wired reporter Mat Honan’s account of how it happened to him, to know what it would be like.

2-Step What?

2-step verification relies on codes which are either delivered to a device or in some instances verified using the Google Authenticator app. This makes your logins much stronger because a hacker would need access to these codes when logging in, which change every 30 seconds or so. Keep your phone close by and put a passcode lock on the phone itself, and the verification process should remain secure.

One other thing I want to mention before we go any further – at frequent intervals, you may think to yourself that 2-step verification is a pain in the @&%, and you will be tempted to switch it off for an easier life. Don’t do this! Yes it may be a pain to look up the numbers, but you can rest easy knowing that your accounts are secure – and you should enable it for every service out there that’s dear to you Lock Down These Services Now With Two-Factor Authentication Lock Down These Services Now With Two-Factor Authentication Two-factor authentication is the smart way to protect your online accounts. Let's take a look at few of the services you can lock-down with better security. Read More .

Here’s how to switch it on to protect your Apple ID.

1) Sign In & Answer Security Questions

First thing you will need to do is sign into your Apple account at appleid.apple.com. Do not sign into iCloud, that is something completely separate. I should know – I spent a while fruitlessly looking through iCloud for the security option.

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Next click on the Password & Security tab on the left-hand side.  You will be prompted to answer your security questions (which you should hopefully know the answers to) which will advance you to the main security menu.

At the top of the page, you will see the 2-step section along with a link to Get Started….

2) Understand The 2-Step Process

First you will see a graphic explaining in three easy steps how the whole thing works. When you think you understand this (which is pretty straightforward), click Continue.

Next, you’ll see a small box detailing three advantages of turning 2-Step on. Read it then click Continue, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

twostep5

Finally, before you set the whole shebang up, you get three warnings from Apple about turning 2-step on. Please read this. You need to know this.

Finally we are ready to switch Skynet on. Hold onto your hats.

3) Set Up Your Trusted Devices

To set this up, you need a smartphone. Enter the phone number, including the correct country code. This is important because you will now get a SMS from Apple with a four-digit number.

When it arrives, enter it in the boxes provided, and click Verify. All going well, it should take you to the next level.

twostep8b

Your phone number should appear as Verified at the top of the page. If it is, then good. This will be the number that all Apple 2-Step numbers will go to. You can also add additional iOS devices like iPhones and iPads in this step by clicking Verify next to the device of your choosing.

4) Print or Save Your Recovery Key!

Apple recognizes that there may be times when you are don’t have access to your phone number or another device to verify your identity. In case of such an event you will be given a “recovery key” which will restore access to your account. You must either print this number, save it in your password locker or write it down. Write it down right now.

In the next step, it decides to test you by telling you to enter the recovery key, just to see if you really do have a record of it.

5) Enable 2-Step Verification

Before you click the final button, Apple gives you one last chance to back out and reminds you about the risks involved. I love how during this whole process, Apple is almost trying to change your mind, as if you are going to unleash a dragon. But you’re not, just better security!

At last, it’s time to switch it on. So put the suspense music on and click that Enable two-step Verification button!

And it’s done. Wipe the sweat from your brow. You did a good job. Oh and one other thing – what’s your recovery key? Better hope you’ve got it written down somewhere safely!

Don’t Get Locked Out

One last thing I wanted to share with you: I originally intended to write this article last week and I switched off 2-step verification with the intention of switching it on again to go over the process and take screenshots. However, when I tried to start the process of switching it back on, it told me that as a security measure, I would have to wait three days. Because according to Apple, I “might not be the same Mark O’Neill” (there’s two copies of perfection out there?).

So heed that warning: if you switch 2-step off for any reason, you are likely to get locked out of your Apple account for a few days as “a security measure”.

Do you have 2-step verification enabled on your Apple account yet? Ever been locked out? Share your security story below!

  1. Crystal
    August 17, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    So, im truly technology disabled. Both in using and understanding... If this is only for my apple id, does that mean i only have to go thru 2 steps when signing in to itunes, etc. or also to other non-apple apps?

  2. Emma
    July 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

    The fact that you can have >1 device makes me more likely to use it (though unlike most, I don't have that much my apple account, as I don't use it for movies etc, & the only "money" on it is a gift card. I've also never put other people's information in there - other than email addresses (it's an iPod touch, so no phone numbers), so they're less likely to sue me for breaching their data. (Facebook: It's the mobile web page, rather than the app, so again, less integrated, & I sign out when I've finished using it. Well, mostly!)

    However, the fact that you can have multiple devices is good, on the assumption that, like my bank it asks which phone to call (I had to give them a name, I think). I've got two mobile phones, one for use at home & one for overseas. WOuld be a pain if I had to keep switching which one was in, both should be easier.

  3. michel
    July 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I do without such accounts rather than submit to annoying protocols which only become more and more complicated. These things are supposed to serve me, not the other way around.

    • Mark O'Neill
      July 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      It's not complicated, and you wouldn't be saying that if someone hacked your account and locked you out. So it DOES serve you!

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