How to Set Up Apple’s Authenticator App

Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is a way to keep your accounts secure. Everyone who values their security and privacy should have multi-factor authentication enabled for every online account that offers it. You can usually do this with either your phone number or an authenticator app. Luckily, your iPhone has a built-in Apple authenticator app. In this tip, I'll show you how to set up Apple's authenticator app on your iPhone.

Why You'll Love This Tip:

  • Keep your accounts secure by requiring unique six-digit codes to log in.
  • Easily access your multi-factor authentication codes from the Settings app.

How to Set Up Authenticator App on iPhone

System Requirements

This tip works on iPhones running iOS 16 or later. Find out how to update to the latest version of iOS.

Having a second factor ensures that if someone obtains your password, they will be unable to log into your account because they would also need the six-digit code provided by the authenticator app. While you can install third-party authenticator apps like Google’s or Microsoft’s code generator apps, you can also opt to use Apple’s iCloud Keychain. Any of these apps are good choices, as long as you are using multi-factor authentication. You’ll need to set it up for each account, individually. For more Apple security and privacy advice, like how to auto-fill verification codes, be sure to check out our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

Now, to get started, visit the website you want to set up multi-factor authentication for. You’ll need to go into your account settings on the website and find the security section. Then, here’s how to set up an authenticator app on your iPhone:

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  1. Visit the website where you want to add multi-factor authentication and navigate to your account settings. For this example, I used my Etsy account, but this will work with many different sites.

    iphone safari displaying etsy website with a red box around account settings
  2. Tap the Security tab.

    iphone safari displaying etsy account settings with a red box around security tab
  3. Tap Turn on 2FA (or a similar button).

    iphone safari displaying etsy account security settings with a red box around 2FA button
  4. Some websites will offer different authentication options, such as SMS.

    iphone safari displaying etsy multi factor authentication setup with a red box around dropdown menu displaying sms
  5. To use the Apple Authenticator app, tap Authenticator App.

    iphone safari displaying etsy multi factor authentication setup with an expanded dropdown and a red box around authenticator app
  6. The site will display a QR code, as well as a setup key. Keep these on hand as you proceed. You will want to copy the setup key to your clipboard.

    iphone safari displaying etsy multi factor authentication setup with a QR code and a setup key
  7. Now, close your browser, open the Settings app, and tap Passwords.

    iphone settings with passwords circled in red
  8. Find the account you want to add verification codes to and tap it.

    iphone passwords with etsy account circled in red
  9. Under Account Options, tap Set Up Verification Code…

    iphone passwords screen displaying etsy account information with set up verification code button circled in red
  10. Tap Enter Setup Key or Scan QR Code. If you are doing this all from your iPhone, you will want to enter the setup key, or you can screenshot the QR code, email it to yourself, and open it on your computer to scan it with your phone.

    iphone passwords screen displaying etsy account information with Enter Setup Key or Scan QR Code buttons circled in red
  11. Once you’ve scanned the QR code or entered the setup key, the verification code will automatically be added to the password page. You’ll see it under the password. Tap it to copy it to your clipboard.

    iphone passwords screen displaying etsy account information with a red box around verification code
  12. Return to your web browser, and enter the verification code (if you copied it in the previous step, you can simply paste it here). Tap Continue to finish setting up 2FA for this account.

    iphone safari displaying etsy multi factor authentication setup with a red box around the 2fa code entry field

That’s how to set up two-factor authentication on iPhone. Now, each time you log in to this account, you will be prompted to complete your sign-in using Apple's authenticator app. If you are looking for an authenticator app for iPhone, iCloud Keychain is always a good choice. Your device will automatically generate a new code every 30 seconds, so the code you need to enter when logging in will be different every time. Next, find out how to share passwords on iPhone.

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.