You’ve probably heard by now that SMS based two-factor verfication (2FA) is not as secure as we had thought as researchers have shown how it is possible to hijack a text message. But as we reported a few days back, the good news is that your iPhone can now be used as a much more secure Google security key. In this article, we will show you how to use your iPhone as a physical secure key for 2-step verification for your Google Account.
The Google Smart Lock feature makes use of the iPhone’s secure enclave to turn your iPhone into a secure FIDO2 key. According to Google, security keys are more secure second step. You can buy Titan security key kit from Google’s Play Store, but you can now turn your iPhone into a Google security key. It is amazing how we can use our iPhone for so many things.
So you can enable this feature with the following iPhones and iPads that come with Touch ID or Face ID:
– iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max.
– iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation), iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Air 2, iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini 4, iPad mini (5th generation), iPad mini 3, iPad (2017). iPad (2018), iPad (2019), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation), iPad Pro 11-inch
Before you enable your iPhone or iPad as the secure key, it is important to note that you can still use the other mechanisms like SMS, authenticator apps like Authy (App Store link), Google Authenticator (App Store link). Your iPhone or iPad can be used a secure key only on Chrome at the moment.
I would recommend using your iPhone rather than an iPad, which is your primary phone as you will carry it where you go, as you might need it to access your Google Account.
How to Turn Your iPhone or iPad Into a Google Security Key For 2FA
You can follow these simple steps to turn your iPhone or iPad as a secure key for 2-step verification for your Google Account.
1. Download the Google Smart Lock app from the App Store using this link.
2. Tap Sign in and follow the instructions to log in to your Google Account. If you don’t see this option, skip to the next step.
3. You will be prompted to allow Bluetooth. You need to provide Bluetooth access to check whether your devices are near each other. It doesn’t need your devices to be paired. So tap the Allow button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
4. You will then be prompted to Allow Notifications. You need to allow notifications as Smart Lock needs to send notifications to your iPhone when you try to sign in. So tap on the Allow button again in the bottom right corner of the screen.
5. In the next step, you should see your iPhone or iPad details. Tap on it to add it as a built-in security key.
6. You should get a confirmation screen informing you that your iPhone’s security key has been successfully added to your account if you had already signed in to your Google Account on your iPhone or iPad.
If you have multiple accounts then you might need to follow these steps to enable your iPhone as the security key for all the Google accounts.
- Launch the Google Smart Lock app.
- Tap Manage Accounts and select the Google Account for which you want to add your iPhone as the security key.
- Select the Security tab on the next screen. You might need to swipe to see the Security tab.
- Tap 2-step Verification.
- Scroll down to Your second step and to the Security Key section.
- If your iPhone isn’t there, tap Add Security Key and select your phone from the list
That’s it. Your iPhone or iPad can be used as an encrypted security key for 2-step verification for your Google Accounts.
You will get a notification on your iPhone or iPad the next time you need to authenticate your Google account. All you need to do is tap on the Yes button to confirm that you are trying to access your Google Account from another device.
Let me know how it goes, and feel to drop us a line in the comments if you’ve any questions.