Twitter has announced an important change to how it handles two-factor authentication for new logins on its service. Twitter now lets you use third-party apps for two-factor authentication as an alternative to SMS.

SMS, or text message based codes, is generally considered inferior in terms of security to third-party apps that support two-factor authentication. SMS being a carrier specific service can also affect users traveling internationally when using two-factor security.

Third party apps like Authy, Google Authenticator, and 1Password work independently of carrier and location and instead generate codes offline that let you use two-factor authentication.

Twitter says it will still rely on SMS for logins by default, but it lays out instructions below for using third-party apps as an alternative:

  1. In the top menu, tap your profile icon, then tap Settings and privacy.
  2. Tap Account, then tap Security.
  3. Drag the slider next to Security app to receive a code via a separate app.
  4. Read instructions and tap Start.
  5. Enter your password and tap Verify.
  6. Start the set up process by tapping Set up now.
  7. Follow the set up process instructions. Note: If you already have an authenticator app installed, you’ll see a message to confirm allowing Twitter to be added.
  8. You’ll see a Try it now message. Generate a code through the third-party app, enter it, and tap Verify.
  9. Now, through the third-party app, you can view and use codes for login verification.

For more on this change, visit Twitter’s security support site.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.