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.

Mail icon on icloud.com website

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. In macOS Mojave and earlier, from the Apple menu, select System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details. (In macOS Catalina, go to System Preferences and then select Apple ID.)

    Mac's System Preferences Account Details
  2. In macOS Mojave and earlier, select Security. (In macOS Catalina, select Password & Security.)

    Select Security under System Preferences/Account Details
  3. Enter your password if prompted.

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

    Turn on two-factor authentication

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

    iPhone settings and 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.

  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.

  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.

  4. Select Generate Password under App-Specific Passwords.

    Generate Password feature under Apple ID security
  5. Enter a label for the email program or service for which you want to create the password under Label.

    Enter label for password in Apple ID security settings

    For example, if you'd like to create a password for iCloud Mail in Mozilla Thunderbird, you might use "Mozilla Thunderbird (Mac)."

  6. Select Create.

    Generate an app-specific password
  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.