iPhones Can Now Be Used as Built-In Phone Security Keys for Google Apps

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According to a recent announcement, iPhones can now be used as two-factor authenticators for faster sign-ins into various Google apps and services.



Only a year ago, Google announced that Android users can use Android 7+ devices for two-factor authentication (2FA) when they need to sign in into Google services, such as Google Drive, Gmail, and alike. Now, a year later, iPhones can be used in the same way.

A Safer Way to Confirm User Identity

Hacking attacks have grown to become one of the biggest threats to data and user privacy, which is why most services today offer 2FA as a method of additional protection for online accounts. So far, most people became familiar with 2FA that is done via SMS codes, which arrive to user’s phones.

Unfortunately, delivering these codes via texts is no longer secure, which is why security researchers started inventing safer alternatives. Many who are concerned about privacy now use physical security keys that can be plugged into computers and phones. However, researchers also created an alternative to this that allows users to use their smartphones for confirming their identity — a built-in phone security key.

While the key — Google Smart Lock app — differs from the old Google Prompt, it is similar in a way that it uses the same UI. However, the newer solution is more resistant to phishing attacks, and it does a better job of verifying users’ identities. Simply put, as long as the user’s phone is in Bluetooth range, the device can easily be used for identity verification.

Coming to All iOS Devices

The app has already been available for Android 7+ for about a year, but Google recently announced that it will now also become available for iOS devices. It was first brought to iPhone 5s, even though this device does not support iOS 13 anymore.

Now, whenever users need to verify their identity while accessing one of Google’s services, they will have to open Smart Lock on their nearby phone and confirm the sign-in. However, it should be noted that this only works when the user is signing in to Google apps with Chrome, and while Bluetooth is enabled on the computer and phone alike.

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