Apple’s trying its hardest to protect the security of your account — whether you like it or not.
In an email sent out in the early hours of June 6, the company confirmed that going forward it will mandate the use of 2-factor authentication (2FA) for many of its services.
“If you install the iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra public betas this summer and meet the basic requirements, your Apple ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be automatically updated to use two-factor authentication,” reads the email. “This is our most advanced, easy-to-use account security, and it’s required to use some of the latest features of iOS, macOS, and iCloud.”
To be clear, this means that it’s not just early adopters downloading public betas of iOS 11 and High Sierra that will be required to use 2FA, but rather everyone that wants access to all the hot new features.
And what is 2FA, you ask? Two-factor authentication is a basic security measure which requires two pieces of information for a user to access his or her account. Think of taking cash out of an ATM machine. You need your physical bank card (“something you have”), and your PIN (“something you know”). Only with both those keys can you get your cash.
With email, 2FA frequently manifests as your account password (“something you know”) and a random code sent to you either via SMS or an authenticator app (“something you have”). With these two elements required to gain access to an online account, it is much harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access.
“Once updated, you’ll get the same extra layer of security you enjoy with two-step verification today, but with an even better user experience,” the email continues. “Verification codes will be displayed on your trusted devices automatically whenever you sign in, and you will no longer need to keep a printed recovery key to make sure you can reset a forgotten password.”
So, whose Apple IDs will be automatically updated to 2FA? We reached out to Apple to determine if it’s just people downloading the public betas, or if the same requirements will apply to everyone downloading iOS 11 and High Sierra later this year. Unfortunately, we received no response as of press time.
Either way, with Apple stating that 2FA is required to use “the latest features of iOS, macOS, and iCloud,” it’s clear the company is making a hard push toward better account security.
So go ahead and update those security settings now — before Apple does it for you. After all, medicine’s always easier to swallow when it’s not being shoved down your throat.