With the upcoming releases of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra later this year, Apple is planning to force many users to adopt two-factor authentication for their accounts.
The company this week sent an email to customers who have the existing two-step verification enabled for their Apple IDs, informing them that once they install the public betas of the new operating systems they will be migrated to two-factor authentication automatically. Two-step verification is an older method of account security that Apple rolled out before full two-factor authentication was available. Apple is phasing that out and will be upgrading people with eligible devices automatically.
“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. 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,” the email from Apple says.
During its Worldwide Developers’ Conference this week, Apple introduced both iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, the next iterations of its mobile and desktop operating systems. The public betas for each of them are due this summer, with final versions scheduled for the fall.
There are a couple of differences between Apple’s two-step verification and its 2FA system. The main difference is that with the older service, users are given a recovery key that they need to keep in case they have to reset their password. That’s not required for 2FA.
“Because your password alone is no longer enough to access your account, two-factor authentication dramatically improves the security of your Apple ID and all the personal information you store with Apple,” the company’s explanation says.
“Once signed in, you won’t be asked for a verification code on that device again unless you sign out completely, erase the device, or need to change your password for security reasons. When you sign in on the web, you can choose to trust your browser, so you won’t be asked for a verification code the next time you sign in from that computer.”
Users can sign up for the beta software program on Apple’s site.