Turn off Apple ID Two Factor Authentication

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Turn off Apple ID Two Factor Authentication

Apple strongly encourages users to employ two factor authentication, however, the feature can be bothersome. This article covers how to turn off Apple ID two factor authentication.

Cyber security is a pressing concern these days. It seems that every day there are new exploits and attacks. Politicians blame elections results on hacks. Celebrities have their privacy violated by cyber bandits. I just went through an ordeal trying to order some supplements online, thanks to overzealous security measures. I spent three hours on the phone and had to conference in the vendor and credit card company, just to complete my order. It seems that, due to cyber security concerns, the vendor has taken an almost paranoid approach to credit card transactions.

Apple has also gone a bit too far with cyber security. If you have corporate secrets on your iPhone, perhaps these measures are warranted. After recently upgrading iOS, however, I was bombarded with prompts to enter my Apple ID along with a security code. In the course of 24 hours, I was prompted to authenticate my Apple ID ten times. Enough already!!! I’m not James Bond!

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Using two methods of verification is known as two factor authentication. Typically, one enters their username and password on one device, and a code is sent to another device. That code is then entered on the first device to confirm it’s you. If I login to the iTunes Store on my Mac, I need to enter a security code that’s sent to my iPhone. For most people, this is overkill. Simply using a strong password and changing it a few times a year is sufficient to thwart hackers.

It is important to note that two factor authentication is different from two-step authentication. The latter was Apple’s previous system for enhanced security. Two factor authentication is better, in that it should only ask for the security code once on a trusted device. The idea is that only a trusted device (your iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) can access your account. The two factors are your device and your login credentials.

Do I Need Two Factor Authentication?

Two factor authentication has been around for a long time. Corporate users are quite used to this procedure, as it helps protect corporate secrets. Most banking websites also employ two factor authentication. The average user may also benefit from the security regime. It is far more secure than just entering a username and password. With two factor authentication, if someone should steal your password, they still cannot get into your account. They need to possess one of your trusted devices. They can’t activate one of their own devices without a security code sent to a trusted device. It provides very airtight security.

Even the average user benefits from tighter security. After all, someone could hack into your iTunes account and use it to make purchases. By all means, if you don’t find two factor authentication to be cumbersome, I strongly encourage you to use it.

In my experience, it proved to be maddening. I was sitting at my Mac and decided to login to the App Store. That’s when the recent iOS upgrade on my iPhone came back to haunt me. I entered my correct username and password, yet the authentication failed. The dialog box informed me that I needed to enter a code sent to my iPhone, but it didn’t provide a field. Users are supposed to enter the code in the password field, after their password, but there are no instructions. Indeed, Apple did a horrible job of implementing this on the Mac. Even worse, they made me change my password. This caused a cascade of authentication demands on all of my devices.

I still have these requests popping up after a week. Before I turned off two factor authentication, I would need to run and get my iPhone with each request. Even with the enhanced security turned off, I still continuously get prompted to authenticate. It would seem that Apple has become a bit paranoid about security. It’s to the point where their security measures are totally ruining the user experience. My iPhone has Touch ID, so why are they still asking me for my Apple ID and password, over and over? (continue…)

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  1. I am surprised you cannot choose to turn off 2FA if it has been left on for a few weeks. I can’t think of anything that would put people off using the service more than implementing this type of policy.

    1. I finally started using two factor authentication, as they are essentially forcing users to do this now. It’s not that bad, but it presents a catch-22. You need an iPhone to sign on to iCloud on the web, with an untrusted computer. What if someone steals your iPhone or you lose it? You go to iCloud.com and login, but you cannot get the access code, because your iPhone is lost or stolen. Oops! I guess you’d have to call Apple…

      Their two factor authentication needs to send a code via email. This would solve the catch-22 situation.

      Why doesn’t Apple QAT, product management, etc. know this? Because they’re not very good. I wouldn’t work for Apple. None of my software engineering colleagues would either. Why? I can get a great salary and pre-IPO stock options at a startup. Apple won’t make any new employees billionaires or even millionaires. Senior software engineers at Apple live in studio apartments! No thanks!

  2. Two factor is a bother and you cannot turn it off after it has been on your account for more than a few weeks. It has gotten to the point where I can’t check my mail without going through the whole rigmarole, and I am not always in a position to use my phone to get the second factor. It has become so cumbersome that it is actually easier for hackers to access my accounts than for me to access them which makes me wonder WHY we are voluntarily going through this pain in the keister. If your devices are not secure with either one or two factor authorization then why bother with either?

    I was just told by Apple I cannot turn off two factor so I said goodbye. I will now be getting rid of my iPhone and scrubbing all Apple products from my devices. Too bad too because I drive a BMW and they have a sweetheart deal with Apple that makes using any other type of device pretty much useless and incompatible. I would think there would be an anti trust issue with that but, oh well, the law being meaningless and all now.

    1. I didn’t know that one can’t turn off two-factor authentication after a few weeks. It is oppressive. As it stands, every Apple device I own asks me to sign in constantly. With two-factor authentication, it was just too much work.

      Thanks for sharing!

    2. I just bought a new MacBook Pro and, so far, I have had to enter my Apple ID and password about 20 times in two days. I just rented the iTunes movie of the week. I had to enter my Apple ID and password 8 times in order to rent the movie. To be fair, iTunes is a well known PoS.

      Clearly, their product managers are sleepwalking or they don’t even use the products. Tim Cook and the leadership probably have their Macs set up ahead of time. I don’t think they would see it. Steve Jobs probably would have gone through what an actual customer experiences, and would have become (rightfully) angry. He would have got in people’s faces about it until they fixed it. One of my colleagues even saw him, years ago, in front of the Palo Alto Apple Store, before it opened. He was there to make sure everything was alright. Tim Cook? He’s a dilettante. He believes they can use marketing to get out of their rut. No. They need to take quality seriously. They need to take a serious look at their engineering process. Does QAT miss these bugs or are they not prioritized for remediation?

      Apple TV is probably the worst case of Apple defectiveness. They continually reintroduce bugs that have been previously fixed (regressive bugs). It seems to indicate poor source control, builds and change management. Not what one would expect from Apple.

      If I had two-factor authentication turned on, I would have thrown my new MacBook Pro out the window!

      I can only hope that Face ID becomes the norm. Even with Touch ID, I am constantly authenticating. It’s like nothing else!

      I love my new MacBook Pro. It’s perfect. macOS is also very good. Their built-in apps are awful. I tend to use Google for everything I can swap out of the Apple ecosystem.

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