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The high-tech way to protect your logins that’s better than 2FA

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is becoming standard across all your devices and accounts, and for good reason. It’s easy to use and one of four ways to protect yourself from hackers and scammers.

2FA usually consists of two things: something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a smartphone). It can even involve who you are (a thumbprint or facial scan).

There’s a way to make 2FA even more secure. Until just last week, it was only available on Android phones. Now you can protect your iPhone logins as well.

The key to better security

Physical security keys are small devices that provide extra protection against unauthorized access to your accounts. They can work with your computer and phone via a physical or wireless connection. Even if someone gets a hold of your password, they wouldn’t be able to access your account without the physical key.

On top of that, these keys don’t work on fraudulent websites, so they protect you against phishing attacks.

It works like this: you enter your password and then use your physical key to log in to your accounts. Unlike a PIN code sent to your phone, this can’t be intercepted by an attacker.

Security keys are supported by Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and now Apple. They can work via USB, Bluetooth, near-field communication (NFC) and, in the case of Apple, a Lightning connection. Here’s how to set up this important tool for your iPhone or Android phone.

Security key compatibility was introduced with iOS 16.3, which was released last week. Here are more important features that came along with the update.

Set up a security key for your Android phone

  • Log in to your Google account at
  • Select Security from the left pane and then 2-Step Verification.
  • Choose Security Key under Add more second steps to verify it’s you.
  • Select Add security key and choose Physical.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to add your physical security key.

Set up a security key for your iPhone

  • Open Settings on your iPhone and tap your name.
  • Tap Password & Security.
  • Tap Add Security Keys, then follow the onscreen instructions.
    • NOTE: You must add and maintain at least two security keys.

RELATED: Small biz tip: How to set up an authenticator to protect your work accounts

Here are the best security keys

For better protection, you’ll need to purchase a security key. The good news is that many are compatible with iOS and Android phones, computers and tablets.

USB-A/NFC security key

The YubiKey 5 NFC is the company’s bestselling security key. It works with USB-A devices and any compatible NFC device so you can tap it on your phone for authentication.

This key is FIDO Certified to work with your Google, Apple, and Microsoft accounts and many of your favorite apps. It’s supported by iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux.

USB-C/Lightning security key

The Yubico YubiKey 5Ci has dual USB-C and Lightning connectors, so it works on your Android phone, iPhone, PC, Mac or any other device you can plug it into. It’s FIDO Certified to work with your Google, Apple and Microsoft accounts, as well as your popular streaming, social media, security and gaming apps.

Supported operating systems include iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux.

You may also like: 10 tips to secure your accounts with strong passwords

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