Use Security Key for 2-Step Verification

If you use 2-Step Verification, you can sign in with a Security Key, a small device that connects to your computer. To sign in, tap or insert the key when prompted.

With a Security Key, you add the security of 2-Step Verification but don't need to re-type codes from your phone. Learn how to sign in with a Security Key on a computer.

Requirements for Security Key

On a computer:

  • A computer with an updated version of Chrome. Learn how to update Chrome.
  • A Security Key that plugs into a USB port and works with FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F)

On your phone:

  • A Security Key that works with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F)
  • A specific app, depending on what kind of phone you have

Decide if Security Key is right for you

We recommend a Security Key if:

  • You don't mind carrying it with you. A Security Key is small enough to fit on your keychain or in your wallet.
  • You use the Chrome browser on your computer. Security Keys don't work on other browsers, like Safari.
  • You want better protection against online scams. Some scammers set up phishing sites that pretend to be Google and ask for 2-Step Verification codes. Security Keys use encryption and work only with the sites they're supposed to, so they're more secure from these kind of attacks.
  • (iPhone users only) You don't plan to use your Google Account with your iPhone's Mail, Calendar, or Contact apps. Apple apps don't work with Security Keys yet, so they won't be able to access your Google data. Instead, you can use Google Apps, like Gmail or Google Calendar. 

Get a Security Key

You can buy a Security Key online. Search on Google for "FIDO U2F Security Key" and order from a trusted retailer.

Add an account with Security Key to your phone

You'll connect your Security Key to your phone only when you add your Google Account, not every time you sign in.

Make sure that:

  1. On your Android device, follow the steps to add your account.
  2. Your phone will detect if your account has a Security Key. Follow the steps to connect your key. You'll be asked to either:
    • Tap your key to the back of your device
    • Pair your key to your device
  3. After the setup process, you can use this account on your Android device.

Fix problems

  • If you get an error message that asks you to update Google Play Services:
    1. On your Android device, sign in with an account that doesn't use Security Key.
    2. Google Play Services will update automatically.
    3. Follow the steps above to add an account with Security Key.
  • If a Security Key doesn't work on your device, you might see an option to sign in with a verification code instead.
  • If your Google Account is through your work, school, or other group: Contact your administrator for help or if you need a verification code.

Nick is an Accounts expert and the author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about how to improve it.

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