You can now use your iPhone as a Google security key for 2FA

iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Google Smart Lock for iOS has been updated.
  • It means you can now use your iPhone as a Google security key.
  • Google is reportedly using Secure Enclave in Apple's A-Series chips.

Google has updated its Google Smart Lock app for iOS so that users can now use their iPhones as Google security keys.

The release notes for version 1.6 state:

With this new update, you can now set up your phone's built-in security key, the best second factor protection for your Google Account. We've also refreshed the app's design to make it easier to use.

According to 9to5Google, Google is using the Secure Enclave in Apple's A-Series chips, which stores Touch ID and Face ID data amongst other things. 2FA authentication by SMS has proven to be an insecure 2FA solution thanks in part due to SIM-swap attacks. Physical security keys are considered a much more secure option, and now your phone's hardware can be used for the same purpose.

Using the phone as a security key is quite similar to Google Prompt, as the UI is the same. However, to use your phone as a security key, you must be in Bluetooth range of the device you are logging into, because the login prompt is not just sent over the internet.

To access the feature, simply update the Google Smart Lock app for iOS, then you'll be prompted to set up your phone's built-in security key. In order for the feature to work, you'll need to be using Chrome to sign in to Google, and both your phone and desktop computer will need to have Bluetooth activated so that they can communicate.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9