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.

Note: If you’re a journalist, activist, or someone else at risk of targeted online attacks, learn about the Advanced Protection Program.

Requirements for adding a key to your account

Security key dongle

Before you can use a security key dongle to sign in, you’ll need to add it to your account using a computer.

  • Have a computer with a USB port and the latest version of the Chrome browser.
  • Have a security key that plugs into a USB port and works with FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) or FIDO2.

Note: If you’re using a Titan Security Key from Google, you can learn more about what computers and devices it’s compatible with.

Compatible phone’s built-in security key

Android phones running Android 7.0 and up have a built-in security key to help you securely sign in on a nearby computer. Learn more about how to use the security key built in to compatible Android phones.

Step 1: Get your keys

You can: 

Step 2: Add a key to your account

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. Go to your Google Account.
  3. On the left navigation panel, select Security.
  4. In the "Signing in to Google" panel, select 2-Step Verification.
    • If you haven’t set up 2-Step Verification already, select Get started. Otherwise, move on.
  5. Select Choose another option  and then Security Key.
  6. Follow the steps to add your security key.

Step 3: Sign in using 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.

Note: You’ll be asked for your security key or another second step any time you sign in from a new computer or device. You might not be asked for your security key or another second step if you sign in from a device you use often.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, download the Google Smart Lock app. If you already have the Google Smart Lock app, move on to the next step.
  2. Open the Google Smart Lock app.
  3. Tap Sign in and follow the instructions. If you don’t see this option, skip to the next step.
  4. Tap the account you’ll use with your key, or tap Use another account. You might need to sign in with your password.
  5. Follow the instructions to pair your key and device.

After pairing, you can sign in to your Google Account like you normally do. If we need to make sure it’s you, you’ll be asked to press the button on your key.

Note: Currently, iPhone apps like Mail and Calendar only work with security keys used as part of the Advanced Protection program. If you’re part of the Advanced Protection program, learn how to use these apps with a security key. If not, you can use these apps by setting up another verification option, like verification codes or prompts.

Fix problems

Bluetooth key won’t pair with phone or tablet

Make sure to:

Bluetooth key won’t go into pairing mode

Make sure:

  • Your key is unplugged from your computer or charger
  • Your key is charged

Can’t sign in using Smart Lock

Make sure:

  • Private Browsing is turned off in Safari to sign in with a security key.
  • Your security key’s battery is adequately charged. If your security key is low on battery, you might not be able to sign in.

Lost security key

If your security key is lost, you can follow these steps to get back into your account and protect it. Choose the right steps for you depending on whether you’ve set up another second step like:

  • Verification codes
  • Google prompts
  • Backup codes
  • A different security key you’ve added to your account
  • A registered computer where you previously chose not to be asked for a verification code
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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