How to set up two-step verification for Dropbox

How to set up two-step verification for Dropbox

Popular cloud storage solution, Dropbox has begun enabling two-step verification for their accounts, which means in addition to your password (something you know), they send an additional access code to your phone, or let you generate a time-based code with a mobile app like Google Authenticator (something you own). Although no security scheme is unbreakable, two-factor authentication is absolutely better than one. And if you keep personal data in Dropbox, you're absolutely going to want to use it.

How to enable Dropbox two-step verification on your Mac or Windows PC

Dropbox is currently providing two-factor verification as a beta but will be rolling it out to all accounts over the next few days. If you're reading this during the beta period, you'll have to manually enable it by downloading the Dropbox beta from their forum.

  1. Download Dropbox 1.5.12.
  2. Install Dropbox 1.5.12.

How to enable Dropbox two-step verification on your account

Once you're sure you're running the latest, greatest, proper version of Dropbox software, you need to turn on two-factor authentication on your account.

  1. Go to http://www.dropbox.com/try_twofactor on your desktop web browser.
  2. Login to your Dropbox account if you aren't already.
  3. If everything is good to go, you'll see a green banner at the top of the web page that reads: "Success! You can now try enabling two-step verification. Look under the "Account sign in" section of this page."
  4. Scroll down to Account sign in.
  5. Two-step verification will be set to disabled, click on (change).
  6. Click on Get started at the bottom right of the Enable two-step verification pop-up.
  7. Enter your Dropbox password.
  8. Choose whether you want your verification code sent to your phone over SMS, or if you want to generate a time-based code using a mobile app like Google Authenticator.
  9. For this example, I'm using SMS, and entering my country code, area code, and iPhone number.
  10. Enter the code you received via SMS, or generated via the mobile authenticator app. (Note: The first two codes they sent me were rejected as invalid, the third one worked, so you may need to try several times.)
  11. Record your emergency backup code in case you ever lose your phone and need to temporarily disable two-step verification. (They suggest writing it on paper but I hate that so I put it in 1Password.)
  12. Click **Enable two-step verification" on the bottom right.

That's it, you're done! From now on, whenever you log in to dropbox.com or enable a new computer or mobile device, you'll have to enter the SMS or generator code to make sure everything in nice and secure.

How to login to Dropbox two-step verification on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

The next time you need to add a device to your Dropbox account, for example, in a couple of months when a shiny new iPhone 5 or iPad mini follows you home from the Apple Store, you'll need to use that fancy new authentication code to do it.

  1. Download the Dropbox for iOS app if you haven't already.
  2. Launch the Dropbox app for the Home screen.
  3. Tap I'm already a Dropbox user.
  4. Enter your Dropbox account Email address and Password.
  5. Tap Log into Dropbox.
  6. Dropbox will SMS you a security code or you'll go create one using Google Authenticator. (If you're using SMS, and you're quick enough, you can watch for the Notification Center banner and type the code without ever leaving the Dropbox app.)
  7. Enter the Code.
  8. Tap Submit Code. (It only took two tries to get a valid code this time...)

That's it! Well, Dropbox will ask you if you want to enable automatic uploads (I don't, I use Photo Stream, but that's pretty much it.

Additional help and resources

If you need more help setting up Dropbox two-step verification, or if you want to setup additional two-step verifications for Gmail, hit the links below. And if you try it out, let me know how it works for you.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 4 comments. Add yours.

MooPenguin32 says:

Thanks for the tutorial. I completely overlooked the little link to enable two factor authentication. Having your screenshots helped.

Fofer says:

And how does this impact apps and services we use that save to Dropbox? Like 1Password, ifttt.com, etc.

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