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Two-Factor Authentication

Like every other iPhone user out there, I begrudgingly ran the latest update after checking my social media one last time. Yes, even IT guys sometimes ignore update notifications. For the record, you should always run any update as soon as possible—they’re there for a reason! Typically, updates are pushed out to patch security holes and help stabilize software.

After the excruciating ten minutes without access to my precious device, the Apple logo came up. I typed in my four-digit passcode and skimmed through the introduction screens. This time, though, I was asked  if I’d like to enable two-factor authentication for my Apple ID. It might seem crazy to get excited about a security feature, but this is huge!

It used to be that anyone who had your passcode could access any of your devices. That’s why we tell you not to use something obvious like 0000 or 1234! Thanks to the new update, even if someone figures out your passcode, your other Apple products will prompt you with “Your Apple ID is being used to sign in to a device near ‘city name.’” From this prompt you can allow or deny access. If your iPad is stolen and someone attempts to gain access, you’ll see a prompt on your iPhone. If someone tries to hack your iCloud account, you’ll be alerted immediately. This is a huge step forward in Apple security.

If you ran the latest update and didn’t turn on dual-factor authentication, you can still turn it on in the iPhone or iPad Settings menu under iCloud, Password, and Security. On Macs, go to System Preferences menu, iCloud, and Account Details. You’ll be asked for a “trusted phone number” to receive verification codes. Apple recommends providing your mobile number and the number of another device just in case your preferred number isn’t working.

This extra security isn’t limited to Apple products and isn’t really that new. Apple has offered a version of this for some time now, but this new and refined version is much easier for the general user. Some form of this authentication is available with Google, Windows, and even companies like AT&T to prevent unwanted access to account information. All of these services use either a PIN-based verification or a general alert for access from an unknown device. Admittedly, these prompts are tedious if you access things like your Gmail account from a new computer every day, but it’s for your own good! The one time you ignore that “Security Alert for Gmail Account” email will be the time your account information is lost forever! If you receive an alert like this from your provider (and it’s not you), deny access and reset your password just to be safe.

Check your email account and your devices today. Two-factor authentication is a great step in protecting your valuable information and files!

 
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