Use a security key for 2-Step Verification

Security keys can be used with 2-Step Verification to help you keep hackers out of your Google Account.
Important: If you’re a journalist, activist, or someone else at risk of targeted online attacks, learn about the Advanced Protection Program.

Step 1: Get your keys

Step 2: Add a key to your account

  1. You can add a security key to your account on either:
    • A computer and a compatible browser, like Chrome
    • An iPhone or iPad with iOS version 13.3 and up and Safari
  2. Enroll your security key. You might need to sign in.
Tip: To help you sign in if your key is lost, add more ways to prove it's you

Step 3: Sign in with your key

Security keys are a more secure second step. If you have other second steps set up, use your security key to sign in whenever possible. If a security key doesn't work on your device or browser, you might see an option to sign in with a code or prompt instead.

If you receive the error, “You need to register this Security Key to your Google Account before you can use it to sign in”:

  1. Attempt to sign in with a different account.
  2. Update your Google Play service.
  3. To add the account in question, try to sign in again.
If you’re signed in to your Google Account on your iPhone or iPad when you add a security key to your account, you’ll stay signed in and won’t need to use the steps below. To sign in to your Google Account on a new device, your security key or another second step you've set up will be required.

Important: Security keys can connect to your iOS devices in the following ways:

  NFC USB
iPhones with iOS version 13.3 or up Yes Yes
iPads with iOS version 13.3 or up No Yes
iPhones and iPads with an older version No No

With Near Field Communication (NFC)

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, add your Google Account to your device in Settings and then Passwords & Accounts or open a Google app.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account if you haven’t already.
  3. Your device will detect that your account has a security key. Follow the steps to sign in using your key. 
Tip: To connect a key over NFC, hold your security key against the top back edge of your phone for the best connection.

Fix problems with NFC

Make sure to:

  • Add the key to your account
  • Remove anything that might be blocking the NFC signal, like a case or sticker
  • Update your phone to iOS 13.3 or above
  • Try restarting your device

With USB

Important: To plug in a USB security key, you will need either an iOS device with a USB port (such as an iPad Pro) or a Lightning to USB adapter.
  1. On your iPhone or iPad, add your Google Account to your device in Settings and then Passwords & Accounts or open a Google app.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account. Your device will detect that your account has a security key.
  3. At the bottom of the next screen, tap Try another way and then Plug in your USB security key.
  4. Connect your key to the USB port in your device. You may need a USB adapter
  5. Turn on your key:
    • If your key has a gold disc, tap it.
    • If your key has a gold tip, tap and then press it.
    • If your key has a button, press it.
    • If your key has none of these features, you may need to remove and reinsert it. This type of key turns off after each use.

Organize your security keys

You can manage your security keys under your 2-Step Verification settings. There, you’ll find a list of the keys you’ve added, from the most recent to the oldest. You’ll also find more info such as the key's name, the date it was added, and the date it was last used. The key’s name defaults to “Security Key” unless you choose a custom name.

You also have the option to edit each security key’s name or to delete it.

Rename your security keys

Next to each security key, click on the pencil icon Edit to edit its name. This means that if you have multiple security keys, you can better identify them with a custom name.

Remove your security keys
Next to a security key, click on the trash bin icon Delete to remove it so that it’s no longer connected to your Google Account. When you remove your security key, you’ll be asked for confirmation. You may also need to sign in to your Google Account again.
Unable to use security key

If you can’t use your security key, you can generate a security code for 2-Step Verification:

  1. On a device signed into your account, go to g.co/sc.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Reset your locked security key

Some security keys need extra verification, like a PIN.

If your security key is locked due to multiple incorrect PIN entries and must be reset:

  1. On your computer, open Chrome Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More More.
  3. Click Settings and then Privacy and security and then Security and then Manage security keys and then Reset your security key.
  4. Follow the instructions on screen.

Tip: You can use Chrome to reset your locked security key. Go to chrome://settings/securityKeys.

Lost security key

If your security key is lost, to regain access to your account and protect it, follow the steps for the type of 2-Step Verification you have:

If you have another second step

  1. Sign in to your Google Account with your password and your other second step.
  2. Follow the steps to remove the lost key from your account.
  3. Get a new security key. You may want to get an extra key you can keep in a safe place.
  4. Add the new key to your account.

If you don’t have another second step or forgot your password

Note: 2-Step Verification requires an extra step to prove you own an account. Because of this added security, it can take up to 3-5 business days for Google to make sure it’s you trying to sign in.

  1. Follow the steps to recover your account. You'll be asked some questions to confirm it's your account.
  2. You may be asked:
    • To enter an email address or phone number where you can be reached.
    • To enter a code sent to your email address or phone number. This code helps make sure you can access that email address or phone number.

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