Google now lets you use iPhone as a physical security key

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Your iPhone is now a physical 2FA key.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google is finally letting iPhone owners use their device as a physical two-factor authorization security key for Google services thanks to a new update to the Google Smart Lock app for iOS.

The new feature uses the iPhone’s Secure Enclave to store private keys. Now, instead of having a 2FA code texted to you, Google can send it over Bluetooth, making your accounts less vulnerable to phishing attempts and other hacks.

GoogleLock
Smart Lock helps you add an extra layer of security to your accounts.
Photo: Google

Two-factor authorization has become increasingly popular as an extra security measure over the last couple of years. Most people are familiar with getting SMS codes to authenticate their login attempts, but security experts warn that those codes could still get intercepted. Having a physical key is considered the most secure 2FA. Until today’s update, you had to buy a physical key like this one.

With the Google Smart Lock update, you can now use your iPhone as a physical key to authenticate your login to services like Gmail or Google Calendar. The biggest bummer is you have to use Chrome. It won’t work through Safari. The feature uses Bluetooth so you also need to be within close range of your Mac.