Using Two-Factor Without a Connection

What if you need to connect to your iCloud account, but your iPhone doesn't have an Internet connection? Then you won't get a prompt with the two-factor code, but you can still generate the code manually and use it even though your iPhone isn't connected. Two-factor codes don't need to rely on Internet connections for verification. You can also get a code from your Mac even if it isn't connected.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Using Two-Factor Without a Connection”

    5 years ago

    How would you connect to iCloud without an internet connection to begin with?

    5 years ago

    Karl: You have situations where you don't have one: like if you are using a public computer or a friend's computer that is connected, but your iPhone is not (no mobile service and no Wi-Fi). So when asked for the two-factor code, you can get it from your iPhone even if it is not connected.

    Jacques Maurissen
    5 years ago

    When I am overseas and a verification code is sent by a bank to my iPhone, I don't receive the code on my iPhone. Is there a way I can receive the code even though I do not have a special expensive contract allowing me to call the USA from Europe on my iPhone? Thanks, Gary!

    5 years ago

    Jacques: That's a completely different situation. This tutorial is about Apple's two-factor system. But another company (your bank) would need to provide their own solution to this. Check with them. Perhaps they have some other system than sending an SMS message. Perhaps you can have them send the code another way -- sometimes voice is an option. Or maybe a different messaging service. Or, maybe you can find a service where you can get SMS online, like Google Voice, and use that instead of your mobile phone.

    5 years ago

    When I log into iCloud on my Mac, (a) keychains auto brings up the passcode (hashed) after I type my login. Then it generates the 6 digit two factor code on all my devices that are online... including the Mac I am sitting at. IOW it shows me the code I am supposed to enter into the same computer!

    How is this secure? If someone got ahold of my computer all they would need is my iCloud login name.

    Kerrie Redgate
    5 years ago

    Jf, I’ve had the same question. I’ve had arguments with Apple Support staff about this. And with Gary’s great explanation here, I’m even more bewildered as to how Apple sees this as secure.
    Gary, if you have an explanation for why the code appears on the same device as the login, maybe it would be a good follow-up topic to this video. Thanks again, for your wonderful exposés.

    5 years ago

    JF, Kerrie: One way to look at it is the system and each app is a separate thing. So you can be logged into iCloud in the system, but the app is "sandboxed" and separate. So, for instance, when you try to log into in Safari, running in Safari is separate from your System being logged in to iCloud.

    Russell Johnston
    5 years ago

    That's very interesting/informative. I always wondered how the "authenticator" apps worked without communicating directly with the site you're logging into.
    Thanks, Gary.

    5 years ago

    Great video!!! learned something new today....

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