Twitter in February 2023 announced that text message two-factor authentication (2FA) is set to become a premium feature for Twitter Blue accounts. Here's why the company's logic behind the decision doesn't make any sense from a security perspective, and why you don't need the feature anyway.

Twitter Feature
Twitter has said that it will soon be removing text message-based 2FA from non-paying accounts and turning it into a feature that will only be available to subscribers of its premium Twitter Blue offering, which costs $8 per month. This means that any users who don't pay for a Blue subscription and rely on Twitter to send them an SMS text message code to complete the login process will have the feature turned off and removed from their accounts by March 20. Their account password will become the only barrier to access.

Aside from purely financial reasons (presumably it costs Twitter to send you a text), making text-based 2FA a paid-for perk is an odd decision on Twitter's part.

Twitter has justified the policy change by saying, rightly, that SMS 2FA can be abused by bad actors. And there have indeed been "SIM swap attacks" where hackers convinced cell providers to assign a victim's phone number to a device they control, and by taking control of a person's phone number, the hacker can impersonate the victim, as well as receive text message codes to their account. But making SMS 2FA available only to Twitter Blue subscribers simply makes them more susceptible to attacks of this nature.

Twitter says that it is "committed to keeping people safe and secure on Twitter," and it's true that SMS 2FA is better than no 2FA at all, but its policy does nothing to encourage users to switch to a more secure form of 2FA – perhaps because doing so means paying Twitter absolutely nothing.

Switching to App-Based 2FA is the Solution

Rather than rely on SMS-based 2FA, Twitter users should be using a mobile authentication app, like Duo, Authy, or Google Authenticator, or the password authenticator built-in to iOS. App-based 2FA is a far more secure alternative, as it never leaves your device and doesn't involve you receiving a code sent to your phone via text message.

To use this method to secure your Twitter account, first ensure that you have your authenticator app of choice installed on your iPhone. Then follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Twitter app or log in to the Twitter website.
  2. Go to your account's Settings and privacy, found in the Settings and Support dropdown menu.
  3. Select Security and account access -> Security.
  4. Select Two-factor authentication.
  5. Check the mark next to Authentication app.
  6. Follow the prompts, entering your account password when requested.

twitter 2fa

When you've completed the above steps, you should be able to log in to your Twitter account using your password, accompanied by a code generated by your authenticator app. Just be sure to keep a backup of your codes – if you don't have one and you lose your phone, you'll find it a lot harder to access your 2FA accounts.

Tag: Twitter

Top Rated Comments

contacos Avatar
16 months ago
I kept mine secure by deleting it. You should try it sometime. It’s also great for one’s mental health (sounds more serious than it is). I used to engage with strangers, which always put me in a bad mood afterwards. Now that I deleted it, I am like why did I care what strangers were thinking! So silly
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
senttoschool Avatar
16 months ago

I kept mine secure by deleting it. You should try it sometime. It’s also great for one’s mental health (sounds more serious than it is). I used to engage with strangers, which always put me in a bad mood afterwards. Now that I deleted it, I am like why did I care what strangers were thinking! So silly
Now you spend that time engaging with strangers on Macrumors.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
marcinsf Avatar
16 months ago
much easier solution - don't use twitter.
It's free and doesn't cost anything to not use twitter :)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
judgeFire Avatar
16 months ago
In recent OS releases, the Settings > Passwords options include setting up Keychain based 2FA without the need for a third party app. It can also pop up the code when required, if it senses the field in question is for that. The SMS autofill is more consistent, tho
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adammusic Avatar
16 months ago
I feel like nobody knows about iOS built in 2fa.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andrewxgx Avatar
16 months ago
the fact that twitter is looking at cutting cost of sending auth SMSes is telling you a lot of how bad things are up there
they basically look for spare change between couch cushions
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...