Using Google Smart Lock on iOS

Learn how easy it is to sign in to your Google Account with iPhone Smart Lock without the need for two-factor authentication codes.

An iPhone 14 that can use Google Smart Lock.
Image: James Yarema/Unsplash

The Google Smart Lock app for iOS lets you use your iPhone as a security key to lock your Google Account for added security beyond two-factor authentication. Instead of relying on 2FA codes from text messages or an authentication app or phone call, you can use your iPhone to authorize access to Google Accounts the first time you sign in.

This solution works very similarly to the physical security keys you add to iCloud accounts, except that instead of having to purchase an additional key, you can use your iPhone.

SEE: Make your Apple devices more secure with these tips to keep in mind when changing your Apple ID password.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to set up this Smart Lock app and lock your Google account from 2FA support.

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Setting up the Google Smart Lock app for iOS

The first step in setup is to download Google Smart Lock app from the App Store.

After downloading this app, open it and sign in with your Google account. The system will also ask you to enable push notifications. Make sure you do this, as this is how you will be notified that your login attempt has been accepted.

Then you need to set the security key in your Google account as follows:

  1. Go to myaccount.google.com.
  2. Select Security | Two-step authentication.
  3. Select Security Keys.
  4. Select Add Security Key.
  5. Select your iOS device that you used to sign in to Google Smart Lock, then click Continue and follow the instructions (Figure A).

Figure A

Choose your iPhone as a security key, even if you already have physical keys in your Google Account.
Choose your iPhone as a security key, even if you already have physical keys in your Google Account.

On some devices, this setting is done automatically. If your device already appears in the Security dongles section, there is nothing more to do.

How the Google Smart Lock app for iOS works

Once you register Google Smart Lock in your Google Account, you will no longer receive text messages, phone calls, or enter a 2FA code from the code generator. Instead, when you sign in with your Google Account, you’ll get a push notification on your iPhone asking if you want to complete the sign-in (Figure B).

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Figure B

When you sign in, you'll be prompted to open the Google Smart Lock app.
When you sign in, you’ll be prompted to open the Google Smart Lock app.

Simply tap the notification and accept it, and your login attempt will be approved without entering any additional 2FA details (Figure C).

Figure C

Authenticate your device by tapping Yes to sign in.
Authenticate your device by tapping Yes to sign in.

You can complete your sign-in this way because Google trusts your device and you have Face ID or Touch ID set up to protect it from unauthorized sign-in attempts.

For people new to 2FA, Google Smart Lock can greatly improve the app. You can also make enterprise organizations that support Google for Workplaces more secure by requiring app authorization.

For more information on how Google Smart Lock works, visit Google’s documentation: Google Smart Lock.

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-use-google-smart-lock-on-ios/