If you play games on a PC or Mac, chances are you have at the very least a passing familiarity with Valve Software’s Steam and, by extension, Steam Guard.
Introduced in 2011, Steam Guard helps users to protect their accounts, in part by using email-based two-factor authentication. On logging into Steam for the first time on a new computer, a code is sent to the user’s email address. By entering that code into the Steam client, the user proves that they are in fact who they say they are, unless someone has also gained access to their email password.
Now, that two-factor authentication is about to get both easier to use and even more secure. Valve announced yesterday that two-factor authentication is coming to the Steam apps for both Android and iOS. The new feature is similar to the email-based authentication, except that now the code is sent to the mobile app, meaning that only someone physically in possession of the phone will be able to log in.
Adding on to this standard two-factor authentication, the new feature “also provides additional ways to protect and recover your account,” according to the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator group announcement on Steam. In order to gain access to the new beta mobile apps, users will need to join this group, but this doesn’t guarantee access to the beta. Valve says it will select a number of participants from this group, with more members being added later on.
For now, only Android devices are able to use the new mobile two-factor authentication. To get started, either update your Steam app or download it from the Google Play Store if you haven’t already.
Valve says that iOS users will be eligible for the beta once the iOS version of the Steam app has been updated, which should be soon.