Enabling two-step authentication is one of the more essential steps you can take to secure your accounts. And the best way to do that is to skip SMS and go straight to a physical security key. The only problem is remembering to bring the key with you. That’s getting easier every day with Google accounts; your iPhone can now serve as that physical key.
Google previously released a Smart Lock app for iPhone that assisted with two-factor authentication. But, until recently, they worked by pairing with your physical security key over Bluetooth. That’s great for working on your phone but didn’t help much on your computer or laptop.
Earlier this year, Google released an update for the Android that turned phones into the security key. And now the iPhone is ready for that treatment too.
With the latest version of the app, you can pair your phone with your laptop over Bluetooth then set the phone up as a key. When you try to access your Google account in the Chrome browser, your iPhone will receive a push notification. All you have to do is unlock your phone, tap a confirmation, and your account will open.
Google stores your information in the iPhone’s secure enclave for enhanced security, but keep in mind the app doesn’t ask for any other form of verification. If you leave your iPhone unlocked, anyone could complete the process without you present. And currently, this only works with the Chrome browser as well.
Still, if you’ve ever left home without a Yubikey, this is probably a welcome change. After all, it’s easy to forget a tiny dongle on the way out the door, but hardly anyone forgets their phone anymore. It’s also worth noting that you don’t even have to choose one or the other—you can use both your Yubikey and your iPhone on the same account. When the time comes, either one will work as a security key.