How to Approve Your iPhone

Approving your Apple device made easy

person enabling phone security

 TimeStopper / Getty

Two-factor authentication is becoming more and more important as an extra measure of security. That said, you don't want to become locked out of your device because you've forgotten how to unlock it when you receive the request to approve the device. Here's how to approve an iPhone when you receive this message.

What it Means to Approve an iPhone

Two-factor authentication is a way to protect your Apple ID from being used if your personal information falls into the wrong hands. If you see a message about approving your iPhone after you've enabled two-factor authentication, it means you've turned on two-factor authentication through your Apple Account. When you turned on your authentication, you enabled a trusted device like your personal cell phone, or maybe a iPad you keep at home.

Approve an iPhone From Another Device

The simplest way to approve a sign in is by using the verification code that Apple sends to you. Here's what you do after you try to login on a new device:

This method will only work if your trusted device runs iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan. If it is older than that, you'll need one of the other methods.

  1. Open one of your trusted devices. You should have set these up when you enabled two-factor authentication.

  2. A screen will have automatically appeared on your trusted device notifying you of a new sign in attempt. Tap Allow to display a code.

    Number, then Allow button on iOS Trusted Device
  3. On the device you are attempting to login on, input the code displayed on your trusted device. You should now have access.

    Apple ID Verification Code on iPhone, next to iPad

Approve an iPhone Through a Text or Phone Call

If you don't have access to a trusted device at the moment, you can also send a verification code as either a text or phone call to a trusted number—these are also set up in the two-factor authentication process. Here's how you receive a text or phone call after trying to sign in on a new device:

  1. Tap Didn't Get A Verification Code.

    Didn't Get a Code? button in iOS
  2. You will receive a new prompt. Choose the option to send the code to your trusted phone number.

  3. You will receive either a text or phone call on your trusted phone number. Enter the code you see or hear on your new device to complete the sign in process.

    Apple ID Verification code via text message

Use the Settings Menu to Receive a Code

Finally, if you don't receive automatic codes and are unable to take a call or text, you can use the Settings menu on your trusted device to generate a code. Here's what you do:

This method will work even if your trusted device is offline.

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] on your trusted device. On older devices, you may have to tap iCloud to find the [Your Name] menu.

    Settings, Name button on iOS
  2. Tap Password & Security.

  3. Finally, select the option that says Get Verification Code. Tap OK when done.

    Password & Security, Get Verification Code, OK button in iOS Settings

Two-factor authentication is important, but don't get locked out in the cold. Make sure to set up your trusted devices when you set up authentication in order to quickly and easily approve any new devices.