Everything You Need to Know About Two-Factor Authentication on Your Mac

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One of Mac’s exclusive feature is the Apple ID, which allows Mac users to access their apps and files on different devices using the same login details. For instance, if you have an iPhone and a Mac, all files and photos on each device can be accessed easily by the other as long as you’re using the same Apple ID account. It makes life easier especially for those who are using multiple devices.

In 2015, Apple introduced another level of security to their devices, the two-factor authentication. It was introduced as one of the newest Mac solutions designed as the ultimate safeguard to your Apple ID or iCloud accounts. When two-factor authentication is enabled, you can only access your account on devices you completely trust. So, even if your Mac or device was stolen, other people will not be able to access your account.

How Does it Work?

The two-factor authentication should be set up using an iPhone, an iPad, iPod Touch or a Mac running at least iOS 9 or El Capitan. With 2FA, you will need two things when you sign in to your iCloud account on a new device: your Apple ID password and the verification code sent to your trusted device. This feature doubles the security of your Apple ID and iCloud account.

How Do You Install Two-Factor Authentication?

Before, you can set up 2FA by accessing your Apple ID online. But now, you need an Apple device like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac to install two-factor authentication. You can also install 2FA on your Apple Watch running on at least watchOS 2, 4th generation Apple TV with tvOS, and Windows PC with iCloud for Windows 5 and iTunes 12.3.3 and later.

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To set up two-factor authentication on your iPhone or iPad

  • Open Settings on your device.
  • Click the Apple ID banner.
  • Choose Password & Security.
  • Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.
  • Tap Continue and follow on-screen instructions.
  • Enter your device’s passcode.
  • Click Done.

To set up two-factor authentication on your Mac

  • Go to Apple Menu and click System Preferences.
  • Click on iCloud.
  • Select Account Details. You have to enter your Apple ID password to access your Apple ID account.
  • Next, click Security.
  • Then, click Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.
  • Click Set Up.
  • Answer the security questions for your Apple ID account.
  • Follow on-screen instructions to configure two-factor authentication on your Mac.
  • Type in your mobile number and click Continue.
  • Click Done.

Now that you’ve set up your two-factor authentication, here are a few reminders you have to keep in mind

  • Don’t forget your Apple ID password. It’s one of the two things you need to access your account. Although there are ways to reset your password, it is still a pain going through the process of recovering your password.
  • Remove trash and unwanted files that could make your device vulnerable to security breaches. You can run Outbyte macAries to clean up your Mac.
  • Use a passcode on all your devices. It serves as an added security.
  • Keep your trusted phone numbers updated.
  • Don’t leave your trusted devices unattended.

What If You Lost Access to Your Trusted Mobile Number?

You can add or edit your trusted phone number by following these steps:

  • Open your Apple ID account.
  • Sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  • Click Security, and then Edit.
  • To add a new number, click Add a Trusted Phone Number and type in your new number.
  • To remove a number, click the x button next to the mobile number you wish to delete.

You can also view and manage your trusted devices in the Devices section of your Apple ID account.

  • Sign in to your Apple ID account by typing in your username and password.
  • Go to the Devices section. You’ll see a list of devices where you are currently signed in using your Apple ID.
  • Select the device to view more information or delete from your list of trusted devices.

What If You Want to Turn Off Your Two-Factor Authentication For Some Reason?

Unfortunately, you can’t turn it off if your Apple ID was created using iOS 10.3 or MacOS Sierra 10.12.4 and later. However, if your Apple ID was created with an earlier version of iOS or MacOS, you can turn off two-factor authentication through your Apple ID account page. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sign in to your Apple ID account page by typing in your username and password.
  • Click Security.
  • Click Turn Off Two-Factor Authentication.
  • Follow on-screen instructions.
  • Click Done.

Before turning off your two-factor authentication, you have to keep in mind that without 2FA, your account will only be protected by your password and security questions. This means you are removing a layer of protection for your Apple account.

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