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After recently updating iOS on my iPhone I was asked to approve my iPhone from another Apple device of mine. I believe an approval code was sent that I never received because it was sent to the device I am trying to approve. I saw my phone number appear on the screen, and confirmed it because it is my current number, not realizing where this would lead.

I can't approve my iPhone from my Mac because it's not running El Capitan yet. I have now started a lengthy Time Machine backup and am looking into the steps for a clean install since the Mac has performance issues that a standard update will likely not solve. This had to be done anyway, but it's going to be a process, and I still don't know if my iPhone will trust my Mac since the Mac doesn't have an existing history of 2FA usage.

I can't approve my iPhone from the household iPad because it uses another family member's account for iCloud. I hoped that because I make iTunes purchases on the iPad with my Apple ID that the iPhone would trust it, but it does not. In fact, the opposite has happened - after signing in with a now-suspect Apple ID the iPad is now also waiting for approval and refusing to trust the iPhone.

I cannot log into icloud.com for the same reason, so there's no hope of authenticating from there.

This has become a nightmare spiraling out of control, with my Apple devices all asking to be approved and none of them trusting each other. What can I do to prove that I am me, and get my iCloud and devices functioning again?

  • When you enabled 2FA, didn't they give you a recovery key (begins with RK-) to store in case this issue happened? – Rajiv Feb 11 '17 at 18:45
  • @Rajiv I think the recovery key is what was supposed to be sent to my iPhone, but I couldn't receive it. Is there a step where the user must confirm that the key has been received by entering it somewhere, or do they just assume the user received it? If it is the latter, I think I never received it. – Mentalist Feb 11 '17 at 22:44
  • There's also a recovery key that, when you set up 2FA, should be printed out and saved somewhere safe. – Rajiv Feb 11 '17 at 23:15
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If you select your phone number, your phone will receive the text and automatically fill in the code for you. I do not believe that macs are able to receive 2FA codes.

  • This has worked for me in the past – Rajiv Feb 11 '17 at 23:18
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HEYYYY!!! I figured it out! So what you have to do is sign into your Apple ID account from the apple website. This is from the account manage page. Next scroll down to and make sure you have a reliable recovery email...if not change it. Next under "Security" click the edit button at the top right. After doing so turn off "Two-Factor Authentication "... once you press this you will have to set up some recovery question and answers. After this apple will make you select your recovery email so they can lastly send a 6 digit code to confirm that you are turning the Two-factor Authentication off. That pretty much completes it... you should be out of the loop.

I do have a MacBook and I was stuck in the loop hole along with my iPhone. This one adjustment worked for both of my devices.

  • I am not able to deselect the 2 factor authentication in the account. How to solve this? – Ferie Jun 3 at 10:22

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