Hardware two-factor security keys are your safest bet for digital security, but they aren’t always easy to use. Up until now, using a two-factor hardware key with your Google account on iOS has been a bit of a pain, since it had to work through the Smart Lock app. But now, Google is making things much easier for iPhone and iPad users.
Although many champion iOS for its security, using two-factor keys on the platform has actually been pretty difficult. iOS only picked up support for more recent standards required for NFC-based U2F and FIDO2 authentication last year. But now it’s getting as easy to use 2FA security keys on iPhones and iPads as it is on other platforms.
Over the next 15 days, all G Suite, Cloud Identity, and personal Google accounts will pick up support for using NFC and USB security keys on iOS 13.3 and later, separately from the Google Smart Lock app. (Note that although the announcement says Bluetooth 2FA support via the Smart Lock app is new, Google’s actually had that for a while.) So if you need to log into a Google account with your Titan security key on your iPhone, you won’t have to muck around with switching between apps to get it to work — a nightmare that bugged out half the time anyway.
If you’re registered in the Advanced Protection Program, which forces a 2FA security key as a requirement, that means you’ll have a much easier time logging into your Google account on an iOS or iPadOS device the next time you need to. And remember, your iPhone can serve as a hardware security key in the Advanced Protection Program, too.