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As part of Apple’s advanced data protection features, users can add a physical security key to their Apple ID starting with iOS 16.3.
Announced in December, Enhanced Data Protection includes three ways to protect user data. First, end-to-end encryption has been extended to more parts of iCloud, including iCloud Drive, Apple Notes, Apple Photos, and more.
Second, by verifying iMessage contact keys, users can choose to only send messages to people they intend to. Conversations between enabled users receive automatic notifications in the extremely rare event that an attacker breaches Apple’s servers and eavesdrops on iMessage conversations.
Third, iOS 16.3 will add another layer of protection to Apple users’ two-factor authentication on their Apple ID. It will allow third-party hardware security keys to access the Apple ID.
What are the security keys?
A device security key is a form of two-factor authentication to verify that the person accessing an online account is the valid owner of that account. They take the form of small USB devices that can connect to a computer or connect wirelessly to a device using NFC or Bluetooth.
Yubico is perhaps the most well-known company that makes hardware dongles. They have different models that offer USB-C connectors, NFC connectivity and even a Lightning dongle for iPhones.
AppleInsider: 2021 reviewed the Yubico YubiKey, giving it a high 4.5 rating for its battery-free design and compatibility with multiple online accounts.
How to add a security key to an Apple ID
With iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2, Apple users can add a security key to their Apple Account.
- Open Settings and tap your profile above.
- to go Password and Security.
- Scroll down to find “Add security keys“.
- On the next screen, click on “Add security keys“And follow the instructions on the screen.
The system will require two security keys so that users can have one key as a backup. Adding a security key will replace the verification codes that Apple sends to users’ devices when they sign in or reset certain passwords.