How to Use Two-Factor Authentication in iOS 15

Use the built-in authenticator rather than a separate app

What to Know

  • Open Settings > Passwords > (Website) > Set Up Verification Code, then choose Enter Setup Key or Scan QR Code.
  • Navigate to the site you want to set up with the authenticator and obtain a two-factor authentication setup key or QR code.
  • Enter the setup key, or aim your phone’s camera at the QR code to complete the process.

This article explains how to use two-factor authentication (2FA) in iOS 15, including how to turn 2FA on and how to turn it off.

How to Set up the Built-In Authenticator in iOS 15

You can set up the two-factor authenticator in iOS 15 for any website or app that supports this feature.

Here’s how to set up the built-in two-factor authenticator in iOS 15:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Swipe up to reveal more options.

  3. Tap Passwords.

    iPhone with Settings app and Passwords highlighted
  4. Tap the website you want to use with the authenticator.

    If the website isn’t listed, tap + and then enter the website, your username, and your password.

  5. If prompted, scan your fingerprint or enter your PIN.

  6. Tap Set Up Verification Code.

    iPhone password settings with Discord, Touch ID prompt, and Set Up Verification Code highlighted
  7. Navigate to the website or open the app you want to set up with the authenticator and enable two-factor authentication.

    Enable Two-Factor Auth highlighted on the Discord website.
  8. Locate the authenticator setup key or QR code on the website.

    An authenticator key and QR code in Discord.

    It will typically be located in the account section or the same place where you change your password. Contact the website administrator if you can't locate an authenticator setup key or QR code.

  9. On your phone, tap Enter Setup Key if you obtained a numeric key, or Scan QR Code if the website displays a QR code.

  10. Enter the setup key into your phone, or point your phone at the QR code, and tap OK.

  11. Two factor authentication codes are now available in the VERIFICATION CODE field.

    iOS 15 authenticator with "Enter Setup Key," "Scan QR Code," "Verification Code Setup" and verification code field highlighted

    The next time you log in to the website, you will need to navigate to Settings > Passwords > (website name) on your phone, retrieve the verification code, and type it into the website.

How to Remove an Entry From the Built-In Authenticator in iOS 15

If you don’t want to use two-factor authentication for a particular site anymore, or you prefer to use a different authenticator app, you can remove a site from the built-in iOS 15 tool at any time.

Make sure to disable two-factor authentication in your account on a website before you remove that website from your authenticator. Failure to do so will lock you out of your account on that website. If you don’t know how to disable it, contact the administrators of the website.

Here’s how to delete a website from the two-factor authenticator in iOS 15:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Passwords.

  3. Tap the website you want to remove from the iPhone 2FA.

    iPhone with Settings App, Passwords, and highlighted
  4. Tap Edit.

  5. In the VERIFICATION CODE field, tap the red minus icon.

  6. Tap Delete.

    iOS Settings with Edit, red minus sign, and Delete highlighted

    Do not tap Delete until you have disabled 2FA on the website or the app. After tapping delete, you can't generate 2FA codes for the website or app, so you will get locked out if 2FA is still enabled on it.

Why Can’t I Set up Two-Factor Authentication on iPhone?

If you don’t have the option to set up two-factor authentication in the Passwords section of your iPhone, check to make sure that you don’t have an old version of iOS. Apple introduced the built-in authenticator with iOS 15, so older versions of the operating system don’t have this feature. You’ll need to update iOS to use this feature or install a third-party authenticator like Authy or Google Authenticator.

Does iPhone Have a Built-In Authenticator?

There is no dedicated authenticator app in iOS, but iOS 15 does let you set up two-factor authentication in the Passwords section of the Settings app. If you have stored the password for a site, you can set up two-factor authentication for that site. Two-factor authentication codes are subsequently displayed in the passwords section of the Settings app as well.

To set it up, you need to open the Settings app on your phone, navigate to the passwords section, and select the site or app you’re trying to set up with two-factor authentication. If you haven't saved the site password on your phone, you need to store it first.

To complete the process, you also need to obtain a setup key or QR code from the site that you want to use with two-factor authentication. It's usually found on your account page or in the same section where you change your password. Every website handles it differently, so you may need to contact the website administrators if you can’t locate a setup key or QR code.

The two-factor authenticator that’s built-in to iOS 15 differs from Apple’s two-factor authentication requirement that requires you to retrieve a code from a trusted device to log into a new one. The built-in authenticator is for websites, not Apple devices.   

  • What is two-factor authentication?

    Two-factor authentication, also called two-step verification, is an additional security layer for an online account. Along with a username and password, two-step verification requires a verification code sent via text, email, or another app.

  • How do I turn off two-factor authentication on an iPhone?

    To turn off two-factor authentication on Apple devices like an iPhone, understand that the two-factor authentication is tied to your Apple ID, not your device. After you enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, you have only two weeks to disable the feature. During the 14-day grace period, access the two-factor authentication enrollment email, then select the link to return your account to its previous security settings.

  • How do I bypass two-factor authentication for iCloud?

    If you've set up security questions with your Apple ID and you've found yourself without access to a trusted device, visit the Recover Your Apple ID website and follow the prompts to access your account.

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