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’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 Bluetooth *
iPhones with iOS 13.3 or above Yes Yes Yes
iPads with iOS 13.3 or above No Yes Yes
iPhones and iPads with an older OS No No Yes

* Your phone’s built-in security key connects with Bluetooth.

With your phone's built-in security key

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both devices.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account on a Chrome OS (version 79 and above), iOS, macOS, or Windows 10 device.
  3. Check your iPhone for a Smart Lock notification. Tap the notification.
  4. To verify your sign-in, tap Yes.

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.

With Bluetooth (BLE)

  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. On your iPhone or iPad, add your Google Account to your device in Settings and then Passwords & Accounts or open a Google app.
  3. Sign in to your Google Account. Your device will detect that your account has a security key.
  4. At the bottom of the next screen, tap Try another way and then Connect your Bluetooth security key via SmartLock. Open the Google Smart Lock app. Sign in if required.
  5. Tap Generate security code in the Smart Lock app.
  6. Follow the instructions to pair your key and device through Bluetooth if required.
  7. Copy the security code from the Smart Lock app
  8. Go back to the app that required the Smart Lock security code and enter it there.

Fix problems with Bluetooth

Bluetooth key won’t pair with phone or tablet

Make sure to:

Key won’t go into pairing mode

Check if:

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

iPhone or iPad isn’t asking to pair

If you’re signed in to your Google Account on your iPhone or iPad when you add a Bluetooth security key to your account:

  • You’ll stay signed in to that iPhone or iPad.
  • You won’t need to use the Google Smart Lock app to pair your Bluetooth security key unless you sign out.

To sign in to your Google Account on a new device, you will need your security key or another second step you've set up.

Fix problems with Smart Lock

If you can't sign in with Smart Lock, make sure:

  • Private Browsing is turned off in Safari. If Private Browsing is on, you won't be able 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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