Logging In to Apple ID Two-Factor Authentication on Old iPhone & iOS Versions

Aug 23, 2016 - 6 Comments

Apple ID two factor authentication code

As many users know, using Two-Factor authentication for an Apple ID provides an additional layer of security for your Apple and iCloud login by requiring a pin code to be entered from an approved device before the Apple ID can be accessed. But the two factor auth feature is really built for modern iOS versions, and older iPhone and iPad models can have some difficulty with the feature, since there is no code prompt that appears on those older versions of iOS. So what do you do? How do you log in with two-factor authentication on an older iOS version where there is no code prompt?


The trick to logging into two-factor auth with older devices is pretty easy, but it’s also easily overlooked or easily forgotten: for older iOS versions using two-factor authentication, you must authenticate by adding the pin code to the end of the normal password.

To reiterate, to use a two-factor authentication locked Apple ID on an older iOS device, you must enter the Apple ID password as usual, immediately followed by the code.

For example, if your normal Apple ID password is “applepassword” and the two-factor authentication code is “821 481”, then the new proper password to login on the older iOS version would become: “applepassword821481”

No spaces, no quotes, just the password appended by the two-factor auth code.

If you don’t append the code to the end of the normal password, the login will be rejected. Don’t forget this simple trick, because if you do you might find yourself in a really annoying situation on any older iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone where accessing iCloud or any Apple ID related function seems impossible. This is because older iOS versions do not have the two-factor pin code prompt. This basically applies to any device running any version of iOS prior to iOS 9, and any version of Mac OS prior to Mac OS X 10.11. All modern versions of iOS and Mac OS will show a place to enter the pin code and not require the password appending.

I’ve seen multiple instances where people found the experience to be such a hangup or hassle that some decided to disable two-factor authentication for Apple ID and forego whatever security benefit the feature may provide, but that’s really not necessary if you can simply remember to add the pincode to the end of the passcode for these older devices.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

6 Comments

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  1. Brian says:

    Two Factor is going to have to change if it’s going to be secure.

  2. Sebby says:

    Yes, this is indeed how it’s supposed to work. :)

    I should say, because it happened to me recently, that it can sometimes happen that not entering the code can also work, too, if the application would normally accept a code from a web view. For instance, the Yosemite iCloud PrefPane normally shows the web view for entry of the two-step security code, and this is repurposed, even for two-factor authentication. When I tried to be clever and preempt it by manually tacking on the code to the passphrase, it failed; when I logged in in the usual manner and simply typed the code into the two-step challenge web view, it worked just fine.

    YMMV, and all that.

  3. Hamza Tariq says:

    2FA is really good on iOS, but it is a laggy service for people in third-world. I rarely receive codes from Apple, while Google and other are doing fine here on this domain. I once got my devices locked for couple hours because of this 2FA.

    Now, I totally avoid it.

  4. thomas says:

    Does Apple’s 2FA ever use SMS? Or is always via iMessage? With so many ports of phone numbers, hacking, spoofing, I would be wary of my code being sent via SMS. On top of that, I’m un rural areas where I have no data service many times, so wouldn’t I end up being locked out?

  5. Wharf Xanaduu says:

    I use snail mail 2FA, where I login to a site and they mail me a code. It is slow, but quite secure.

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