Securing iCloud Mail With Two-Factor Authentication

Locked on code

Two-factor authentication is a solid way to protect your Apple account from theft, hacking, and other misuses by unauthorized parties. It adds an additional barrier between the person logging in and the account by requiring authentication in two separate ways—for instance, on your computer, and on your phone. This is far more secure than the older method of simply requiring a password. By extension, enabling two-factor authentication also protects your iCloud Mail account, as well as any other programs associated with your Apple account.

To turn on two-factor authentication:

  1. Visit My Apple ID.

  2. Click Manage your Apple ID.

  3. Sign in with your Apple account credentials.

  4. Scroll down to Security.

  5. Follow the Get Started link under Two-Step Authentication.

  6. Click Continue.

The resulting window prompts you to take further steps, depending on the device you're using. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Sign in, if prompted.

  3. Select your Apple ID.

  4. Choose Password & Security.

  5. Select Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

If you're using a Mac with OS X El Capitan or later:

  1. Open System Preferences.

  2. Select iCloud.

  3. Authenticate, if prompted.

  4. Choose Account Details.

  5. Select Security.

  6. Choose Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

  7. Click Continue.

  8. Enter your phone number.

  9. Choose whether you'd like your verification code texted or emailed to you.

  10. When you receive the verification code, enter it in the window.

Within the next few minutes, you should receive an email confirming that you've enabled two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.

How to Create a Secure iCloud Mail Password

The passwords we choose often include personal details—for example, birthdays, family members, pets, and other details that an enterprising hacker might be able to figure out. Another poor but very common practice is using the same password for multiple purposes. Both practices are very insecure.

You don't have to wrack your brain, however, to come up with an email password that's secure and meets all of Apple's password protocols. Apple offers a way to generate a highly secure password for each of the programs you use under your Apple account.

To generate a password that allows an email program to access your Mail account (for which you have enabled two-factor authentication)—for example, to set up iCloud Mail on an Android device:

  1. Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled for your Apple account, as above.

  2. Enter your iCloud Mail email address and password.

  3. Click Sign In.

  4. Scroll down to Security.

  5. Select an iOS device or phone number where you can receive a verification code for logging in with two-factor authentication.

  6. Type the verification code received under Enter Verification Code.

  7. Click Edit in the Security section.

  8. Select Generate Password under App-Specific Passwords.

  9. Enter a label for the email program or service for which you want to create the password under Label.

    For example, if you'd like to create a password for iCloud Mail in Mozilla Thunderbird, you might use "Mozilla Thunderbird (Mac)"; likewise, to create a password for iCloud Mail on an Android device, you might use something like "Mail on Android." Use a label that makes sense to you.

  10. Click Create.

  11. Enter the password immediately in the email program.

    Copy and paste to prevent typos.

    Do not save the password anywhere but the email program; you can always go back to revoke it (see below) and create a new password.

  12. Click Done.

How to Revoke an App-Specific Password

To delete a password you created for an application in iCloud Mail:

  1. Open My Apple ID.

  2. Click Manage your Apple ID.

  3. Type your iCloud Mail email address over Apple ID under Sign In.

  4. Enter your iCloud Mail password over Password, also under Sign In.

  5. Click Sign In.

  6. Under Verify Your Identity > Send a verification code to, select an iOS device or phone number where you can receive a verification code for logging in with two-factor authentication.

  7. Click Send.

  8. Type the verification code received under Verification Code.

  9. Click Continue.

  10. Open the Password and Security category.

  11. Click View History under Generate an app-specific password.

  12. Click Revoke next to the password you want to delete.

  13. Click Revoke.

  14. Click Done.