iOS 16.3 Lets You Use a Physical Key for Added Security When Logging Into Your Apple Account

The update also includes a new Emergency SOS shortcut, support for the second-gen HomePod, and bug fixes.

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A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro is getting added security support through iOS 16.3
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

If you haven’t checked your iPhone yet, there’s an update rolling out today. The iOS 16.3 update is relatively minor but includes bug fixes and interface tweaks, support for the second-gen HomePod and its temperature sensors, and new wallpaper. There’s also an optional feature that adds extra security to your Apple ID by letting you use a physical security key to log into it in lieu of digital two-factor authentication methods.

In a press release late last year, Apple teased the security key feature coming to iOS. iOS 16.3 will let you insert any Yubikey-type security key into the iPhone as a second method of getting into your Apple ID. You’ll need access to this key whenever you log in with your Apple ID on another computer or device besides your main iPhone. It’s similar to the process that asks you for a six-digit code or to confirm it’s you through Face ID.

Other updates include an improvement to the Emergency SOS feature on the iPhone, helping prevent accidental calls. It now requires holding the side button with either the up or down volume button to make the call for help. This is undoubtedly being introduced as a way to combat all those false alarms that were happening over the summer on rollercoasters.

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Apple is also introducing Advanced Data Protection to more devices, which is fancy terminology to explain that the company has added to the types of data that are end-to-end encrypted in your cloud storage account. It was already available in iOS 16.2 to U.S. users, but now it’s available in more regions. You’ll have to have two-factor authentication turned on to use the feature, and it works with devices besides the iPhone.

iOS 16.3 also brings a ton of bug and security fixes, including fixing an issue with the Freeform app—the app everyone forgot Apple added to their devices—and better interaction with Siri via CarPlay. The update is out now—you can grab it on iOS under Settings > General > Software Update.