Securing iCloud Mail With Two-Factor Authentication

Keep your Apple email and other accounts safe

Apple's cloud storage system, iCloud, includes a free web-based email account you can access from any Mac, Windows, or iOS device via the iCloud website or the Mail app. Two-factor authentication is a great way to protect your iCloud Mail account from theft, hacking, and other misuses by unauthorized parties.

Here's how to enable two-factor authentication for your iCloud Mail account as well as any other programs associated with your Apple ID.

We'll look at setting up two-factor authentication for your iCloud email from a Mac, iOS device, and from a web browser.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication for iCloud Mail

Two-factor authentication adds an additional barrier between whoever's logging in and the account by requiring authentication in two separate ways, such as your computer and phone. This is far more secure than a password alone.

If you don't already have one, you'll first need to set up an @icloud.com email address before you can use Mail on iCloud.com and set up two-factor authentication.

Set up Two-Factor Authentication for iCloud Mail Using a Mac

  1. Select System Preferences under the Apple menu.

    The System Preferences command under the Apple menu
  2. Select Apple ID.

    In macOS Mojave (10.14) and earlier, from the Apple menu, select iCloud > Account Details.

    A screenshot of System Preferences in macOS with Apple ID highlighted
  3. Select Password & Security.

    In macOS Mojave and earlier, select Security.

    The Password and Security heading in macOS settings
  4. Enter your password if prompted.

  5. Select Turn on Two-Factor Authentication, and then select Done.

Set up Two-Factor Authentication for iCloud Mail Using an iOS Device

It's easy to set up two-factor authentication using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security

    In older iOS versions, go to Settings > iCloud. Tap your Apple ID > Password & Security.

  2. Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication and then tap Continue.

    Turn on 2FA on an iPhone
  3. Enter the phone numbers you want to use as Trusted Phone Numbers. Choose to receive the two-factor authentication codes by text message or automated phone call.

  4. When you tap Next, Apple sends a verification code to the phone number you provided. Enter the verification code to verify your phone number and turn on two-factor authentication.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication Using a Web Browser

If you don't have access to a Mac or iOS device, use a browser to turn on two-factor authentication.

  1. In a browser, navigate to the Apple ID page.

    Manage your Apple ID on the web
  2. Sign in and scroll down to Security.

    The Security section on iCloud
  3. Select the Get Started link under Two-Step Authentication. Follow the prompts to create security questions and trusted phone numbers.

How to Create a Secure iCloud Mail Password

Apple offers a way to generate a highly secure password for each of the programs you use under your Apple account.

Here's how to generate a secure iCloud Mail password.

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

  2. In a browser, navigate to Manage Your Apple ID. Enter your iCloud Mail email address and password and select Sign in.

  3. Scroll down to Security and select Edit.

    The Edit button under Security
  4. Select Generate Password under App-Specific Passwords.

    The Generate Password link
  5. 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)."

    Enter label for password in Apple ID security settings
  6. Select Create.

    The Create button
  7. Enter the password immediately in the email program.

    Copy and paste to prevent typos.

    Do not save the password anywhere but the email program.

  8. Select Done.

    The Done button