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How to Enable Apple’s Two-Factor Authentication in macOS Catalina

Security Preferences Icon

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security used to make sure that folks trying to gain access to an online account are really who they say they are. First, a user will enter their username and a password. Then, instead of immediately gaining access, they will be required to provide another piece of information. 

With that in mind, note that two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your Apple ID designed to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone knows your password.

Here are the steps to take to enable Two-Factor Authentication:

  • Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences
  • Click “Apple ID”
  • Click “Password & Security” under your name.  
  • Click “Turn On Two-Factor Authentication”

Some Apple IDs created in iOS 10.3 or macOS 10.12.4 and later are protected with two-factor authentication by default. In this case, you will see that two-factor authentication is already turned on.

If your account isn’t eligible for two-factor authentication, you can still use two-step verification to protect your information. Two-step verification is an older security method that is available to users who don’t have Apple devices, can’t update their devices, or are otherwise ineligible for two-factor authentication. To do so, launch Safari and click this link: “Set up two-step verification now.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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3 Comments

    • It is a shame that more mac users are looking to disable 2fa than enable it, but I guess that is partly due to apple refusing to turn 2fa off after a period of time once it is turned on.

      I can understand the concern if there is a possibility that the hardware token/fido key might be lost or go faulty and would suggest adding as many alternatives as are allowed to cover for this possibility, but if you do find it all too inconvenient then yes turn it off until apple stop limiting the time you are allowed to do so.