How (and why) to use app-specific passwords with iCloud

Security is a conversation; you need to stay vigilant

how and why to use app specific passwords with icloud
Kris Krug/Flickr

Apple's security systems stole another advantage against rivals today when the company finally enabled app-specific passwords to help improve the level of protection its customers enjoy.

Switched on

Apple yesterday shared this email with iCloud users:

"Thank you for using two-step verification to protect your Apple ID and the data you store with iCloud.

This is a reminder that starting tomorrow, app-specific passwords will be required to access your iCloud data using third party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or other mail, contacts and calendar apps.

If you are currently signed in to a third party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again."

How it works

"To use iCloud with any third party apps (such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or BusyCal) you must sign in using an app-specific password," Apple explains.

This improves the security of your third-party apps and ensures those apps only have access to the data they really need, rather than gaining access to all your iCloud files. Up to 25 app-specific passwords can be used at any given time.

To generate passwords

Go to My Apple ID.

  • Select Manage your Apple ID and sign in.
  • Select Password and Security.
  • Click Generate an App-Specific Password and follow the steps on your screen.

The system does take a little time to implement, but the protection it provides significantly boosts your online security -- assuming you use strong passwords to protect your iCloud account/Apple ID. If you don't and do care about your privacy/bank account/personal identity, then please, please FOLLOW THESE simple security tips here. And enable two-step verification for your iCloud account.

Problem for everyone

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