Apple users can now secure their accounts using a physical security key.
According to the tech giant, security keys — small external devices that look like USB drives or beacons — provide additional protection against phishing attacks or social engineering scams and can be used for verification when Signing in with an Apple ID using two-factor authentication.
The security key can replace the six-digit verification code normally used for two-factor authentication.
“Because you’re using a physical key instead of the six-digit code, security keys strengthen the two-factor authentication process and help prevent your second factor of authentication from being intercepted or requested by an attacker,” explains Apple.
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However, there is a catch: if a user loses all trusted devices and security keys, they could be permanently locked out of their Apple account.
At least FIDO®-certified security keys that work with the Apple devices you use regularly are required, as well as iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, or macOS Ventura 13.2 or later on all devices where you’re signed in with your ID Apple.
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A modern web browser is also essential, according to Apple, and an iPhone or iPad with a software version that supports security keys is also required to connect to Apple Watch, Apple TV or HomePod.
When using security keys, a trusted device or security key is required to sign in with an Apple ID on a new device or on the web, reset an Apple ID password, or unlock an ID Apple or add additional security keys or remove a security key.
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“Keep your security keys in a safe place and consider keeping a security key in multiple places. For example, keep one key at home and one key at work. If you are traveling, you may want to leave one of your home security keys,” Apple advises.
Apple first announced security keys for Apple ID in December, along with two other advanced security features.