Apple Institutes Security Questions for iTunes & App Store

Apple began asking iTunes and App Store customers this week to choose and answer three security questions for their accounts. The questions are intended to be answered in the future for issues relating to account security.

The questions appear when downloading an app, song, or books through iTunes. The screenshot below was taken on iTunes on a Mac, but they will also appear on iPhone or iPad if that’s where you next access iTunes or the App Store (see note below on who’s seeing them).

Users are asked to enter their iTunes account password, and are taken to a screen where they are asked to choose three questions and provide the answers for those questions, as seen in the image below.

iTunes Security Questions

iTunes Security Questions
(Click the image for a larger, more legible version)

Subsequent questions change once you have selected a question. For instance, you might see difference versions of the questions in the screenshot above, such as, “Who was your least favorite teacher?” instead of “Who was your first teacher?”

In addition, some news outlets have said that Apple is requiring a “Rescue Email Address.” As of this writing, this is optional, and not required. If you enter an address, Apple will use that if needed when resetting your password. We should also note that this must be a different address from the one used for your iTunes account.

Apple appears to be rolling out the security questions in stages, as not everyone reports getting asked to set up their questions. Internally, only a quarter of The Mac Observer’s staff available for testing inside TMO Towers on Friday afternoon encountered the questions.

This could be an issue of Apple targeting only those accounts that have been flagged at some point in the past as potential security risks, or it could be that Apple is rolling the questions out to different waves of users in order to manage server capacity.