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Enable Two-step verification for Apple ID

step-two of Apple Two step verification processTwo-step verification for Apple ID.

The only real way to truly secure your accounts these days are by using a two-step authentication method. If you are not sure what two-step authentication or verification is, its the same thing that banks have been doing for years.

What is Two-Step Verification

Two-step verification is a process involving two but independent stages to confirm the identity of the person trying to access a system or service. for example banks have been doing this for years where they give you standard username/password authentication to get access to the system there is a second step added to the process where once you have logged in it prompts you for a one-time pin which is either sms’d or emailed (Less secure) to you. Once you enter the OTP you will be granted access to the system or service. you may be prompted for other OTP entries to add beneficiaries, load payments, or change security details. Google was one of the first Internet companies to introduce a two-step verification process. To access a Google service using the two-step verification process you would have to enter your username/password as well as a pin code generated using the google authenticator app. while the system was secure it was a pain when switching devices or if you lose your device.

Now while this is a lot more secure than standard username/password authentication, it does not verify without a shadow of a doubt prevent someone from hacking your account, it does make it exponentially more difficult. A would be thief would now have to gain access to your mobile phone or personal email to access the OTP while not impossible is a lot more difficult.

How does Apple ID Two-Step Verification work.

With two-step verification, your identity will be verified using one of your devices before you can make changes to your account, sign in to iCloud, or make iTunes or App Store purchases from a new device.

step 1: You enter your Apple ID and password as usual.
step 2: Apple will send a verification code to one of your devices.
step 3: You enter the code to verify your identity and complete sign in.

Once enabled, the only way to make changes to your account will be to sign in with two-step verification. you will no longer be able to use security questions for you to remember or for other people to guess. Don’t worry, You will get a Recovery Key for safekeeping which you can use to access your account if you ever forget your password or lose your device.

How to Enable Two-Step verification on your Apple ID.

Step 1: Go to https://appleid.apple.com and click “Manage Your Apple ID”
Step 2: Sign In using your Apple ID and password (Same as iTunes.)
Step 3: Click the “Password and Security” link on the left hand side of the page
Step 4: You will see the Two-Step Verification section at the top of the page, Click the “Get started…” Link.
Step 5: Click continue at the Two-Step Verification overview page
Step 6: Read through the bit about how the security questions fall away and the Two-Step verification or Recovery Key. Click Continue.
Step 7: Read the Getting Started page very well, Click the “Get Started” Button
Step 8: Click add phone number, Select your country from the drop down and enter your mobile number, Click next
Step 9: You will receive an SMS in a few seconds and be prompted to enter the pin on the site. enter the 4 digit pin and click verify.
Step 10: If successful you will be taken to step 2 of 4 where you will see your recovery Key, print it and put it somewhere safe. click continue.
Step 11: You will then be asked to enter the recovery key that was supplied, I guess this is to make sure you actually have it. enter the key and click confirm.
Step 12: You will again be reminded of the fact that two-step verification will mean that security questions are no longer used. if you are happy, select the “I understand the conditions above.” check box and click the “Enable two-step Verification” Button.

If done correctly you will be presented with a message “Two-step verification has been enabled for your Apple ID.” you can then click the done button. That’s it, now when you logon or make changes to your account you will receive an SMS with a pin that you need to enter. you will receive an email confirming Two-Step verification is now enabled on your account.

Important things to remember.

Please make sure you understand the important security policies below before you turn on two-step verification.
With two-step verification enabled, you will always need two of the following to manage your Apple ID:

  • Your password
  • A trusted device
  • Your Recovery Key

If you forget your password, you will need your Recovery Key and a trusted device to reset it. Apple will not be able to reset your password on your behalf.
App-specific passwords will be required to use iCloud with any third party mail, contacts, or calendar apps.
You are responsible for storing your Recovery Key in a safe place.

More details are available on the FAQ page.

If you would like to turn two-step verification off, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to My Apple ID (appleid.apple.com), select “Manage your Apple ID,” and then sign in.
Step 2: Select the “Password and Security” tab.
Step 3: Click “Turn off two-step verification.”
Step 4: Choose new security questions, verify your birth date, and give a rescue email address (optional but recommended).
Step 5: Click Save.

You will receive an email confirming that you’ve turned off two-step verification for your Apple ID.