The “old” two-step verification
The current two-step verification of Apple is that any changes made to your account, as well as any new device that is added to it, you always need confirmation from a trusted device. So if someone wants to access your account from a browser that has never done so, or you want to add your iCloud account to a new or newly restored device, it can only be done if in addition to entering the access data (username and password) In addition, a code is sent that is sent to a trusted device that you have previously configured.
It is a highly recommended security mechanism, because in this way nobody can access your account without your authorization even having your password, but it had a major flaw: in case of losing the key and trusted devices at the same time it is necessary to have a recovery key that you and only you have, not even Apple can do it. If you lose that recovery key, you can lose your account forever. It is true that it is a situation that happens to have many circumstances all together, but it is possible that it happens, and in fact some users have complained about it.
The new double factor authentication
What if I lose my trusted device?
In case you don’t have a trusted device you can always receive these verification codes via SMS to the phone you have associated with your account as “Trusted phone”. This way you can continue accessing your account even if you don’t have any device with your iCloud account at hand. Of course, it is important that the phone number is updated, and that if you change the number, modify it immediately in your Apple account.
What if I also lose my password?
In the remote case that you lose all your devices and do not know your iCloud key (something not recommended at all) you will not have to resort to any ultra-secret recovery key. You can contact Apple and request the recovery of your account. After verifying that the account is really yours, after a few days in which your case will be studied in detail, you will receive the new access data so that your account is not locked forever.
Should I use the new system now?
Apple does not recommend that you use this new Dual Factor Authentication system until all your devices are updated to iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. Having old devices in iOS 8 could cause you to not be able to receive the verification codes of the new system (except for SMS) and the verification code could not enter it in those “old” devices as planned, which will cause it to be a procedure quite tedious that it can give you many headaches. The best thing is that you do not use the new system until all your devices are updated, at least that is what Apple recommends.
Who will have access to the new system?
Apple will not be able to make the system available to anyone who has iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan installed. It will be adding users progressively, and it will be the user who accepts, in the device configuration process, whether he wants to switch to the new system or not. For a while the two security systems will live together, until everything is ready to move on to the new Double Factor Authentication.
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