Apple users can now use a physical security key to protect their accounts.
According to the tech giant, Security Keys — small external devices that look like thumb drives or tags — provide additional protection against phishing attacks or social engineering scams, and can be used when using Apple ID with two-factor authentication. Used for authentication when logging in.
Security keys can replace the six-digit verification codes typically used for two-factor authentication.
“Because you’re using a physical key instead of a six-digit code, Security Key strengthens the two-factor authentication process and helps prevent your second authentication factor from being intercepted or requested by attackers,” Apple said.
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However, there’s a twist: If a user loses all trusted devices and security keys, they could be locked out of their Apple account forever.
At a minimum, you need a FIDO® Certified* Security Key for the Apple devices you use regularly, and iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, or macOS Ventura 13.2 or later for all devices you’re signed in to using your Apple ID.
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A modern web browser is also required, according to Apple, and an iPhone or iPad with a version of the software that supports a security key is also required to log into an Apple Watch, Apple TV, or HomePod.
When using a security key, you need a trusted device or security key to sign in with your Apple ID on a new device or network, reset your Apple ID password, or unlock your Apple ID, or add an additional security key or remove a security key .
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“Keep your security key in a safe place and consider keeping your security key in multiple places. For example, keep one key at home and one at work. If you are traveling, you may Want to keep one of your security keys in your home,” Apple advises.
Apple first revealed the security key for the Apple ID in December, along with two other advanced security features.