If you’ve ever forgotten your password, had your account hacked, or even had your iPad stolen, you’ll be happy to know that Apple has just added an additional security measure to make it nearly impossible for someone else to access your Apple ID account.
Two-step verification is an optional security feature that can be added to anything requiring your Apple ID on your device. That includes signing in to manage your account, buying downloads from iTunes, the App Store, or any new device, and getting any kind of Apple ID-related support from Apple.
When you activate two-step verification, any time you log in somewhere with your Apple ID, you’ll be asked to enter your password, plus an additional 4-digit code that is sent either through Find My iPhone notifications, or SMS.
In addition to the code, you will also receive a 14-digit Recovery Key that can be used if you ever lose access to your device or forget your password. The Recovery Key allows you to access your account without needing the device.
From Apple’s FAQ about setting up two-step verification:
Two-step verification simplifies and strengthens the security of your account. After you turn it on, there will be no way for anyone to access and manage your account at My Apple ID other than by using your password, verification codes sent your trusted devices, or your Recovery Key.
In August of last year, Wired writer Mat Honan had all of his accounts hacked into by a scammer who posed as Honan and convinced Apple tech support to reset his password. The two-step verification process would have made it significantly more difficult for the hacker to be able to get through the security authentication process.
To set up two-step verification, visit My Apple ID, log in, and go to the Password and Security section. Click the “Getting started…” link and follow the instructions to set up two-step verification.