Apple introduced two-step verification for Apple IDs in 11 countries. It has now enabled that feature for 48 more countries, including China, India, France, Australia, Brazil, Germany and more.
Two-step verification is a secure system of authentication which prevents hackers from getting access to your Apple ID (and therefore, your credit card info, address, purchase history, and other personal data). It prevents something like this from happening.
1. How to Setup Two-Step Verification
Before we dive into what two-step verification does (and why it's useful), here's how to set it up:
- On your Mac/PC, open this link.
- Click on Manage your Apple ID
- On the left, click on Password and Security
- (Optionally: If you've setup recovery questions, you will have to click on the link that says “Send reset security info email to …” in order to reset the recovery process. After you click this, go check your email (your secondary email) for the link that will reset recovery options. You will be back to the Password and Security screen)
- Under Manage Your Security Settings, you should see the Two-Step Verification section. Click on Get started…
- Then, click Continue
- Make sure you read up on what's written. This is important because two-step verification, while being intensely secure, is also very stringent. Click Continue again till you reach the following screen.
- Then, click Continue again. Then click Done.
- You will be asked to wait for 3 days to enable two-step verification. You will receive an email from Apple to setup two-step verification. Click on that to proceed.
- Step 1- Verify your trusted devices: you will be shown a list of devices that are associated with your iCloud account (using the same Apple ID). Click on “Verify” to add this device to the two-factor authentication.
- If you don't find any device listed, you should enable Find My iPhone on your iDevice.
- Also, you should add one SMS-capable phone number (your iPhone, mostly). This is mandatory.
- When you click on Verify, a test verification code (4-digit) is sent to the device. You should enter this code on the browser to proceed with the verification.
- Step 2- Print your recovery key: This step is where you note down the recovery key. Like I said before, this is enormously important. Note it down somewhere you'll remember.
- Step 3- Enter the Recovery key for verification: Enter the recovery key you just got/saved.
- In the the final step 4, click on Enable Two-Step Verification. You're done.
2. How to Check If Two-Step Verification Is Enabled for your Country
Apple has two-factor authentication enabled for 59 countries now. Here's the list:
If your country is not in the list, you might have to wait some more. Apple seems to be gradually enabling this feature for all the countries.
3. What Does Two-Step Verification Do Exactly?
When you make a purchase (iTunes, App Store, Mac Store), you will be asked to verify through a 4-digit code sent to you via SMS. (that's why you need to verify a SMS-capable device). This is one of the most important security measures.
The other one relates to account access and recovery:
- When you try to login to your Apple ID from an unverified device, Apple will send an SMS containing a verification code to one of your registered devices (most likely, your iPhone). You will need this code to login to your Apple ID.
- If you forget your password, you will need the Recovery Key to get into your Apple account. There's no other way you can restore. Note that calling Apple won't help as they won't be able to reset your password.
Nothing much changes beyond this point. You login to your Apple ID and access things just as you'd normally do.
The fact that you'll have to manually enter a verification code every time you make a purchase can be a turn off but I strongly suggest that you set this one up.