If you enabled two-step verification for your iCloud account and you're using your Apple ID to sign in to third-party apps, it's time to start using app-specific passwords. Apple set the requirement to use app-specific passwords starting on October 9, which just so happens to be today.
Apple's app-specific password requirement for iCloud accounts kicks in today
Alternate email clients, such as Mozilla's Thunderbird and Microsoft's Outlook, will need app-specific passwords, as will contact and calendar apps that access your iCloud account.
In a reminder email to iCloud subscribers, Apple said,
If you are currently signed in to a third party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again.
App-specific passwords are necessary only if you enabled two-step verification for your iCloud account. It's a good idea because it reduces the risk of someone changing your account password without your knowledge. Kelly Guimont did a great job of explaining how to set up two-step verification for your iCloud account.
Here's how to create app-specific passwords:
- Go to Apple's My Apple ID website and log in
- Click Password & Security
- Select Generate App-Specific Password
Apple also has a Knowledge Base article explaining app-specific passwords.
Apple told iCloud subscribers in September that app-specific passwords would be a requirement, which gave us a few weeks to get all of our new passwords in place. If you missed setting up a password for an app, or haven't had time yet, today is a good day to take care of that since you won't be able to access your iCloud information from those apps until you do.
Setting up app-specific passwords may seem like an inconvenience, but it's actually a good thing — just like enabling two-step verification. App-specific passwords limit apps to accessing only the data they really need instead of giving them free reign over all your iCloud files.