As part of its continuous effort to enhance iOS security, Apple has included support for physical security keys to iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Sierra 13.2.
This indicates that a physical device rather than a passcode may be used to verify your Apple ID login.
But how does it operate and is it reliable?
How do security keys work?
For two-factor authentication, Wired claims that your password will still be required (2FA).
When 2FA is enabled for your account, logging in to a new Apple device requires your email address and password, followed by a six-digit code either through SMS or to an already-logged-in device. But with the security key, this second step—entering a passcode—is no longer required.
A tangible object that is always with you is safer than a passcode. Apple states in a statement that the security key provides further protection against phishing and other targeted threats.
You must first enable 2FA before using security keys with your Apple ID. Switch on two-factor authentication on your iPhone by going to Settings > your name up top > Password & Security.
By following the on-screen instructions, a phone number can be configured to receive SMS messages, and more trusted devices can be added.
How do these function?
You won’t need to go through the 2-step verification process each time you use your computer or mobile device because they will be automatically identified as trusted devices.
Due to the possibility of a username and password being guessed, tricked out of you, or exposed online, 2FA requires an additional step before logging in.
Security keys offer an additional layer of complexity once you implement them. They can be mechanically connected through lightning, USB, or wirelessly via the NFC protocol (only to iPhones). They verify your identification so that you can use your Apple ID and all of the services that are connected to it.
Keep your security key safe. Apple advises starting with two so you always have a backup copy in a safe location.
You can lose access to your account for good if you misplace both of them. There might be recovery options, but because of security concerns, Apple won’t specify what they are.
First, purchase security keys online. FIDO (Fast ID Online) certified keys with the appropriate ports for your devices—NFC (for iPhones only), lightning, USB-C, or USB-A—are required, according to Apple. These security keys can be utilized with cables and dongles for adapters.
On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Your Name Up Top > Password & Security > Add Security Keys to configure everything.
Software must first be current for macOS. In that case, select Add from System Settings > Password & Security (next to Security Keys). You will then be handed your Apple ID devices and given instructions on how to link your keys to your account.