If you want to verify your Google login and make it harder for anyone but yourself to access it (always a good idea), you can use your iPhone or Android smartphone as a physical security key. While you can set up a third-party 2FA app, like Authy, or even use Google’s own Authenticator, you’ll need to enter both your password and an app-generated code. With Google’s built-in security, you can access your account by pressing “Yes” or by pressing your volume button after a pop-up appears on your phone. You can also use your phone as a secondary security key.
Use your phone to login
To set this up, your computer must have a current version of Windows 10, iOS, macOS, or Chrome OS. Before you start, make sure your phone is running Android 7 or later and Bluetooth is turned on.
- While it’s unlikely you have an Android phone that doesn’t have a Google account associated with it, if you’re one of the few, you’ll need to add a Google account to your phone by going to Settings > Passwords & Accountsscroll down to and select Add account > Google
- Once that’s done, open a Google Chrome browser on your computer
- go to myaccount.google.com/security in Chrome and click Use your phone to login
- Enter your account password. You will be asked to go through three steps: choose a phone (if you have more than one), make sure you have Touch ID (for an iPhone) or a screen lock (for an Android), and add a recovery phone number.
You will then be taken through a test of the system and invited to turn it on permanently.
Use your phone as a secondary security key
You can also use your phone as a secondary security key to make sure it’s you logging into your account. In other words, to access the account, you must have the correct phone with a Bluetooth connection.
- If you haven’t set up two-step verification yet, go back to your account security pageclick on 2-step verification and follow the instructions. The TL;DR is that you need to log in, enter a phone number and select which secondary authentication methods you want.
- Scroll through the list of secondary methods and select Add security key†
- And again, select Add security key†
- You will be given the choice of adding your phone (or one of your phones, if you have more than one) or a physical USB or NFC key. Select your phone.
- You will receive a warning that you must keep Bluetooth on and that you can only log in with a supported browser (Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge).
That is it! You have set up your phone as a security key and can now sign in to Gmail, Google Cloud, and other Google services and use your phone as your primary or secondary authentication method.
Make sure your phone is near your computer when you try to sign in. Your computer will then tell you that your phone will display a prompt. Follow the prompts to verify your login, and you’re all set!
Update March 29, 2021, 11:20 AM ET: This article was originally published on April 12, 2019 and has been updated to reflect changes to the Google interface.