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How to use your iPhone as a Google encrypted security key

Android users can now use their phones as their security key Google a while ago, and now Google is finally delivering on its promise to bring the same functionality to the iPhone. An update to the Google Smart Lock app last week turns your iPhone into a FIDO2 key, using Secure Enclave to ignore SMS and keep your accounts safe.

So far, it works only with Google accounts, but it is a great tool for security-conscious users. Instead of relying on unique passwords delivered via SMS, you can use iPhone to log into your account on another PC, Mac or iOS device quickly and securely, without spending money on a separate hardware key. This method does not work on Android phones, and any browser activity needs to be performed using Chrome.

Any iPhone with a Secure Enclave compatible with the novelty – basically any device released after the iPhone 5S that is compatible with iOS 13. It is not clear if the iPhone 5S supports the feature, as it includes a Secure Enclave, but does not support iOS 13 .

Obviously, you will need to enable two-factor authentication in order for your Google Account to take advantage of the extra layer of security. So if you don't, do it now. Once configured, here's how it works:

  1. Download or update the Google Smart Lock app on the App Store;
  2. Log in to the account you want to use as a security key;
  3. Follow the instructions to set up your phone's internal security key;
  4. Touch Manage accounts and select your security key activated account;
  5. Select the tab Security on the next screen;
  6. Touch Two-step verification;
  7. Scroll down to your second step;
  8. If your iPhone is not there, tap Add security key and select your phone from the list.

And that is all you need to do. Now, when you sign in to a Google service on a new device, you can use your iPhone to authenticate your account.

As long as they are within Bluetooth range (and Bluetooth is enabled for both accounts), you will receive a warning on your iPhone when you sign in to a Google account on a new device and be able to quickly verify that you are without fear of someone steal your texts. And if you forget your iPhone, you can still select SMS as an option or use an authentication application by choosing "Sign in another way".