How To Use Safari To Generate 2FA Codes On iPhone

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that everyone would be using. Here’s how to set up Safari to get your 2FA codes on iPhone.

Not a lot of people know this, but you can actually use the Safari browser to generate 2FA codes on iPhone. This feature is a nice one as it eliminated the need to download third-party 2FA apps.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about how to generate 2FA codes on iPhone using Safari.

How To Use Safari To Generate 2FA Codes On iPhonePin

What Is 2FA?

2FA is the acronym that is used for “two-factor authentication” (also sometimes called multi-factor authentication).

One so-called one-factor authentication systems, you just need a username and password to log into a website or app. In this scenario the password is the “one-factor authentication”. Someone may know your username, but if they don’t know your password they can’t authenticate themselves as you.

The problem with one-factor authentication – where a password is the only authentication – is that many people use the same password for every website or app. They also rarely, if ever, change this password.

This is a major problem because data breeches are increasingly common, and many of those beeches reveal a user’s password (and their email address, which is a person’s most common username for websites). So if you are the type of person who uses the same password at every website, someone can get a hold of your password from a, for example, steaming website data breech, and then just use that password to log into your accounts at other websites, too.

2FA aims to address this threat vector by requiring a second authentication when you log into a website. With 2FA, you still need your username and password to log into a website, but you also need an additional code, without which, you cannot complete login.

The beauty of 2FA is the code is more than a “second password” as the code randomly changes every 30 seconds. That means that even if someone would see you enter a 2FA code, they couldn’t ruse that code to log into the same website under your credentials because no more than thirty seconds later the required code would be different.

What Is A 2FA App?

Given that 2FA codes change every thirty seconds, it’s unreasonable (and unworkable) that an individual would be required to someone memorize a list of all the 2FA codes in sequence. That’s the job of 2FA apps.

2FA apps, or authenticator apps, are apps which house all your 2FA codes, which regenerate every thirty seconds. When you need to login to a website where you’ve enabled 2FA, you log in with your username and password, and then you open your authenticator app to retrieve the current 2FA code for your account on that site and enter it too – and then you get logged in.

Popular third-party authenticator apps include Microsoft Authenticator and Google Authenticator.

However, these apps have a drawback – the need for the user to manually retrieve 2FA codes when logging into a website.

This is where Safari on iPhone comes in. It has built-in 2FA features so you can use it as your authenticator app of choice – and if you use the Safari web browser, Safari will automatically autofill your 2FA code when logging into a website – no need to retrieve and manually enter the code yourself.

How To Use Safari As Your Authenticator App

Setting up Safari to work as your authenticator app on iPhone is easy. When you enable 2FA on a website and its time to add the site to your 2FA app to generate codes int he future, just do the following:

  1. On your computer when you are setting up 2FA on a website, follow the website’s instructions. At the end of those instructions, the website will display a QR code for you to scan with your authenticator app. When you see this code…
  2. Open the Camera app on iPhone and make sure the QR code on your computer screen is in the camera’s view.
  3. Tap and hold on the QR code in the Camera’s screen.
  4. From the contextual menu that appears, tap on “Add Verification Code in Passwords.”
  5. The Passwords section of the Settings app on iPhone will open up. Select the website the Qr code belongs to (your should already have your username and password for the website saved in the Passwords section of Settings).
  6. Now back on the website on your computer, enter the 6-digit 2FA code the Settings app on iPhone is showing you for the website.
  7. This will complete the 2FA setup on the website. Now when logging into the website in the future in Safari, Safari will autofill the 2FA code when required.

And that’s how you use Safari to generate 2FA codes on iPhone!

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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