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How to Use Security Keys for Apple ID Protection

  • Apple has added a physical security key to Apple ID starting in iOS 16.3
  • iMessage Contact Key Verification helps users verify who they are messaging
  • Hardware security keys are a form of two-factor authentication

Apple has added a new layer of protection to users’ two-factor authentication on their Apple ID with iOS 16.3. By adding a physical security key, users can verify that the person signing into an Apple ID is the valid owner of that account. The security key takes the form of a small USB device that can plug into a computer or wirelessly connect to a device using NFC, Bluetooth, or a Lightning key for iPhones.

To add a security key to an Apple ID, the user should open Settings and tap on the profile at the top, then go to Password & Security, and scroll down to find “Add Security Keys.” On the next screen, the user should tap on “Add Security Keys” and follow the onscreen instructions. The system will ask for two security keys so that users can have one key as a backup.

The security key feature was announced alongside other security features, such as iCloud Drive, Apple Notes, Apple Photos, and iMessage Contact Key Verification, which helps users verify who they are messaging. In the rare event that an attacker breaches Apple’s servers and intercepts iMessage conversations, users who have the verification enabled will receive automatic alerts.

This article was written by Andrew Orr, a tech beat reporter and commentator who has authored numerous online articles covering topics such as Apple, privacy, and security. To learn more about Andrew, follow him on Mastodon, LinkedIn, or visit his website.

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