Online security is essential, especially when it comes to social media. Some apps, including the media-sharing platform Instagram, have added features with which you can chat, send "stories", post photos and videos and use multiple accounts all at once.
With this in mind, the best practice to keep your Instagram account safe is to use the two-factor authentication (2FA) feature.
What does this feature do and why should you set it up? If someone tries to sign in to your Instagram account from a device you've never used before, Instagram will require them to enter a security code obtained via text message or an authentication app along with your password.
Below, we've got a handy step-by-step guide for setting up two-factor authentication on Instagram to secure your account.
How to turn on two-factor authentication for Instagram
1. Tap on the three-lined icon at the top of your profile page in the top right corner and select the 'Settings' option
2. Select 'Security' in the launched menu
3. Under the 'Login security' tab, click on the 'Two-factor authentication' option.
4. You will then see three options displayed in the menu: Authentication app (recommended), Text message, and Additional methods (which basically include login requests that will send a notification to your device to approve a new login and an option to use a selection of five backup codes that you will be able to use to regain access to your account).
We will walk you through the first two options, starting with the Authentication app route. Now, go ahead and select that option. Alternatively, skip to step 11 to set up the text message option, or step 12 to explore the option to use the backup codes.
5. You should then have the option to install an authentication app from your app store if you don't already have such an app. We used an iOS device, so if you're an Android user, you'll likely be taken to an alternative app listing.
6. Go ahead and download the 'Duo Mobile' app. The Google Authenticator app will also work and the setup is the same.
7. Once your app is finished loading, launch it. As soon as it opens, you should be greeted with a welcome screen. Go ahead and select 'Add account' as shown in the screenshot below.
8. Find and select 'Instagram' in the menu displayed below.
9. You should then see your username pop up on the screen, as well as a six-digit code that you'll need to enter on Instagram (we've crossed out ours for security purposes).
10. Congrats, You've now set up 2FA for your Instagram! Follow the next steps to use alternative 2FA routes.
11. When using the text message option, you will be asked to enter your mobile number and enter the 6-digit code sent to you (as shown below). And as soon as you hit 'Next', that's it, you're all done!
12. Lastly, if neither the authentication app nor the text message options seem right for you, no need to worry. You can select additional options and enable either login request notifications or backup codes.
When selecting the latter, you will be presented with five backup codes. As we mentioned above, these codes can be used should you lose your phone or if you no longer have access to your phone number or the authentication app in order to get back into your Instagram account.
You can then either take a screenshot to capture the codes or get new codes if necessary. Store them somewhere safe (not in iCloud or on the top of your desk). If you lose access to your text messages or that phone number, these will be your only keys back into your account.
One thing to note, however, is that each code can only be used once. You can request new codes if you're concerned that the existing ones have been acquired by someone else or if you've already used all of them.
And although you don't need to use all three options, the entire process of setting up all three of them took us less than 10 minutes overall. We recommend setting up all options since, after all, it's better to be safe than sorry.