Tech

Your iPhone can now help you securely log into your Google account with a simple tap

Key Points
  • The updated Google Smart Lock app on iPhone now lets you log in securely with a single tap.
  • It offers similar functionality to Google's Titan Security Keys but is free.
  • All you need to do is set it up and then confirm you're trying to log in each time you sign in to Google.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks onstage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters

Google recently launched an update to its Google Smart Lock app on iPhone that allows you to use your iPhone to securely log into a Google account. It alleviates the need to receive a text message, which can be intercepted by hackers, and offers similar security to Google's Titan Security Keys, which cost $25.

The feature is already available on Android phones.

The app is a form of two-factor authentication (2FA), which is when you use more than just a password to log into an account. For example, you can set it up to receive a special code via text message when you try to log into Google. But with the Google Smart Lock update, you just have to tap a confirmation box on your iPhone that you're trying to log in. And you don't have to worry about hackers getting that text message if they manage to get control of your cellphone number.

To get started, just download the new Google Smart Lock app from the iTunes App Store and follow the setup steps that ask for Bluetooth access. Then just log into your Google account and confirm you want to use your iPhone for verification.

After you set it up, whenever you try to log in to your Google account, you'll first enter in your password and then you'll confirm that you're trying to sign in by tapping a pop-up on your iPhone. It'll keep your account more secure, since people will need your unlocked iPhone to log in to Google.

Here's a look at how it works:

First you install the app.

Google Smart Lock on iPhone
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Then you confirm you want to use your iPhone as a security key.

Google Smart Lock on iPhone
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Now when you log in, you'll need to confirm it's you on your iPhone.

Google Smart Lock on iPhone
Todd Haselton | CNBC
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