In the wake of a report last month that multiple Apple services remained insecure against hacking attempts, Apple has turned on two-factor authentication for the FaceTime audio/video calling service and iMessage text/picture/voice messaging service, notes The Guardian. Two-factor authentication was previously offered optionally by Apple to secure iCloud accounts against access from previously unknown computers, but other Apple services such as iMessage, FaceTime, the iTunes Store, the App Store, and Apple.com itself were left with only simple passwords for security.
Apple’s two-factor authentication system blocks new devices from accessing a user’s account by requiring more than just a simple password. Instead, it requires both the selection of a relatively complex, hard-to-crack password and a verification of a PIN code displayed briefly on a trusted device.
After the optional two-factor system is activated, an unauthorized user who gets someone else’s email address and password would still need to enter the trusted device’s temporary PIN code to access Apple’s services from a new device, reducing the likelihood of identity fraud.
If you’ve already set up two-factor authentication on your iCloud account, you’ll find that it’s active when you go to change settings in the FaceTime or Messages apps. Adding the security to the iMessage service will limit access to current and stored text, photo, and voice messages sent through Apple’s servers, while locking down FaceTime will keep unauthorized devices from receiving or making calls using a registered accountholder’s identity.