What to do if you use two-factor authentication and can’t sign in or reset your password

In today’s day and age, there are chances that your various passwords can be compromised. This can happen even if you have taken just about every precaution possible.

One of the most prevalent and popular precautions has been the introduction of two-factor authentication (2FA). For the unaware, 2FA requires a second input from the user whenever signing into your account.

Thankfully, Apple has joined the movement in recent years in an effort to keep Apple ID’s protected. However, there are sometimes where you forget your password, don’t have your device handy, and are locked out.

We are going to take a look at what you can do in the event that you are locked out and can’t sign in or reset your Apple ID password.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

In the past, your username and password was the only way that someone could log into your account. This was obviously not a great way to keep your private information and out of the wrong hands.

Two Step Verification

Two-Step Verification was the first way to add an extra layer of security. This basically required you to enter a code that appeared on your device.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an even more secure method for logging into your various accounts. In Apple’s world, 2FA is built directly into your various Apple devices, including iPhones, Macs, Apple Watch’s, and more.

When activated, there are a few different ways for your account to be verified. Apple takes advantage of the following:

  • Trusted devices
  • Trusted phone numbers
  • Verification codes

What to do if 2FA is not available?

From time to time, you may run into a situation where the 2FA method is not available. Apple has included a few different ways for you to still be able to log into your account.

Account Recovery

If you have already exhausted the other methods of accessing your account, you may feel helpless. Luckily, there is one more option for you to try before you give up altogether.

As expected, you can apply for account recovery from either your iOS or macOS device. In order to request account recovery on your iOS device, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Sign into your device.
  3. Tap Don’t have an Apple ID or forgot it.
  4. Tap Forgot Apple ID.
  5. Enter your Apple ID and tap Next.
  6. Enter the phone number associated with your account.
  7. Follow the onscreen steps.

If you need to request Account Recovery from your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences.
  2. Select iCloud.
  3. Click Forgot Apple ID or password.
  4. Enter the phone number associated with your account.
  5. Follow the onscreen steps.

Play the waiting game

Now that you have applied for an account recovery, there’s not much else you can do. Apple will send an email to your Apple ID account, which is a confirmation of the request.

This email will also give you an idea as to when the recovery will be processed. The problem is, this process could take at least a few days. Obviously, this is less than ideal since you won’t have access to your account.

Once the process has been completed, you will receive either a text message or phone call. From there, you will be provided with instructions that need to be followed in order to regain access to your account.

Get your account back quicker

As we stated above, it’s obviously not ideal to be locked out of your Apple ID for more than a few days. Apple also makes it possible for you to try to speed up the account recovery process.

In order to do this, you will need to have the same credit card that’s on file with Apple, on-hand. From there, you can head over to iforgot.apple.com and look for an option to confirm your credit card details.

If you are given this option, you will be able to enter your card information and speed up the process. However, if you are continually prompted to enter security information, you’ll need to contact the card issuer.

There’s no telling exactly how much quicker entering your card information is. Nonetheless, it is another step that you can take to try to speed things up a bit.


After you have been able to regain access to your account, we are sure that you may be tempted to disable 2FA. We cannot stress enough how important it is to not do that.

2FA serves a great purpose and works to keep your account protected all of the time. So once your account has been re-opened, don’t do anything rash and remove this from your account.

If you continue to have issues after applying for account recovery, you’ll need to contact Apple Support. Be sure to let us know if you run into any more issues and if you have any questions about the process.