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How to create a passkey for your Google account (and why you should)

The old process of verifying your Google account login has been deprecated in favor of a new, more secure method. Here's what it is and how you use it.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Passwordless authentication is far more secure than using a traditional username and password. Essentially, passwordless authentication uses an encrypted key on a device -- your phone, for example -- to log you into an account. By using this method, it is far less likely that your accounts will be hacked by malicious users. On top of that, you won't have to bother typing lengthy passwords to log into your accounts. Instead, you simply OK the login attempt on your phone, and -- voilà! -- you're in.

Also: What are passkeys? Experience the life-changing magic of going passwordless

Passwordless authentication avoids the usual hacking methods of traditional authentication, such as brute force, credential stuffing, phishing, keylogging, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Fortunately, Google has made the process of creating a passkey (which helps to enable a fully passwordless experience for your account) simple. Let me show you how it's done and why you should do it.

Keep in mind that this setup only works to secure your Google account. This is the new world order for how you verify your login. It is not a way to create passkeys for other, third-party accounts.

How to create a new passkey for Google

What you'll need: To make this work, you'll only need a valid Google account and a web browser (I would recommend using Chrome). Do note that the device you use must be either a mobile device or a laptop/desktop with biometrics (such as a fingerprint scanner).

1. Log into your Google account

The first thing to do is to open your web browser and log into your Google account. If you've already done that, you're good to go; otherwise, you can open Gmail, Drive, Google Calendar (or any of the Google services) and log in.

2. Open the Passkeys manager

Next, head over to myaccount.google.com/signinoptions/passkeys. When the page loads, you'll be prompted for your account password once again.

3. Create a new Passkey

On the resulting page, click Create a Passkey. You'll, once again, be prompted for your Google account password.

The Google Passkey manager.

If you've already created passkeys on your mobile devices, they'll be listed here.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Continue with the Passkey creation

In the resulting pop-up, click Continue.

Creating a passkey for Google on a MacBook Pro with Chrome.

You are about to create a passkey for your Google account.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

You will be prompted to allow Chrome to access and use your passkeys. When prompted, click Allow. If you're using MacOS, you'll need to make sure to turn on iCloud Keychain (if it's not already enabled). Once you've done that, you'll be prompted for your fingerprint and then the passkey is done and ready to use.

Also: 5 quick tips to strengthen your Android phone security today

Passkeys are the way of the future for Google account verification. I would highly recommend you set yours up as soon as possible. It's simple to do and highly secure.

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