Getting Two-Factor Verification Codes for Your Apple ID

2 minute read
| Quick Tip

If you’re using two-factor authentication on your Apple ID, then my goodness are you likely familiar with dialog boxes like this one:

Apple dialog to enter two-factor authentication code

You see, having that extra security feature on means that whenever you try to log in to a new device with your iCloud account (or try to log in to iCloud.com through an untrusted browser), you’ll have to approve the action using one of your authorized devices. Which is great and secure and all! Until the code you’re waiting for never shows up, and you’re just kind of…waiting…to do the thing you wanted to do in the first place.

Here’s what’s supposed to happen. You see a box like the one shown in my first screenshot, and on all of your trusted devices, a confirmation should appear.

Apple ID Sign-In Requested Box for two-factor authentication

If you click “Allow” when you see that, you’ll get your verification code.

Apple ID two-factor verification code displayed

Type that in on the device that was requesting it, and whatever you were attempting to do will be approved. Again, great! Secure! But what if you DIDN’T get a code? Or what if you accidentally clicked “Don’t Allow” on one of the dialog boxes? It’s actually pretty simple, because there’s a place you can go to on your iPhone/iPad or Mac to generate a new verification code in like five seconds, which you can then use just like the original one you would’ve gotten. You’ll get to this on iOS under Settings > iCloud; just click on your name at the top first.

Click on your name in iOS iCloud settings to see the generate two-factor authentication code option

Then on the next screen, touch “Password & Security,” and you’ll find the option we’re looking for.

Get Verification Code option iniOS iCloud Apple ID Password & Security settings

Tap “Get Verification Code,” and your iOS device will give one to you! And on the Mac, it’s just as convenient. Open System Preferences from the Apple Menu at the top-left of your screen, and then go to the “iCloud” section. Under “iCloud,” you’ll click “Account Details.”

macOS iCloud Account Details option for Apple ID authentication code request

Once that opens (and after you enter your Apple ID password if necessary), click on the “Security” tab, where you’ll see your verification code choice.

Two-factor authentication Get Verification Code option in macOS

Two-factor authentication is awesome, and it makes your Apple ID very secure, which is definitely what you want for a service that stores backups of your iPhone! But it can be a pain in the rear when you’re trying to approve a new device, so I’m hoping that this tip will help just a little bit with that. If you need one of those precious six-digit codes, my friends, there’s always a place you can go.

8 Comments Add a comment

  1. geoduck

    In Jan I was fighting with this. I updated my iPhone and iPad and both asked for a code, but wouldn’t send it to either device because neither one had been authenticated. Took two hour long calls to Apple Support to sort this out. Seems that the system had sort of half authenticated both. Part of the system thought they were good but other parts wouldn’t trust them. All is well now but there’s an important lessen here. When iOS updates come out don’t do all of your devices simultaneously. Finish one and get it authenticated before doing the next.

  2. Macfox

    Thanks for another great tip. Also Geoduck for your added caution when all your trusted devices. I sure didn’t think of that one.

  3. Cody Burnette

    I had no problems with two-factor authentication…until a couple of my previous generation Apple TVs needed the authentication but gave no place to enter in the code so I had to remove two-factor. I guess I will have to upgrade the other rooms with newer ones if I want to use that feature! 🙂

  4. Dick Wallin

    Was a right pain when I had my iPhone stolen last year and wanted to login on an internet cafe PC to use Find my iPhone. Had to borrow someone else’s phone to phone my house where my wife was able to give me the code that was on the iMac… Was OK while she was there, but what if she wasn’t?

    Then, the code appeared on my daughter’s iPad (used to be mine but had been wiped and started from scratch for her when I got my new one) but wouldn’t appear on my new iPad even though that was registered in iCloud and the old one wasn’t.

    I turned off 2-factor authentication…

  5. Melissa Holt

    Thanks for the nice comments, everybody! 🙂

    And geoduck, thanks very much for the tip! I’m sure you just saved someone’s butt…

  6. hernandz

    @Cody Burnette — My Apple TV is on the old side but trying to get a software update I also had issues with two-factor authentication. I had to log the Apple TV out of iTunes/Apple ID, then log in. This prompted a new screen about the authentication code. Hope that helps keeping your two-factor active.

Add a Comment

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter, Facebook) or Register for a TMO Account