How to protect your Facebook account with login approvalsWith a cell phone and a little patience, you can make life a lot more difficult for anyone trying to hack into your Facebook account.

The trick: Facebook’s “login approvals” feature, which adds an extra level of security whenever you or anyone else attempts to log into your Facebook profile from an unknown computer or device.

First, a little background.

Facebook keeps track of all the PCs, Macs, phones and other devices used to access your account.

Indeed, you can view all the “recognized” devices that have logged into your account from your Facebook security panel, and you can also opt to get an alert whenever someone tries to log into your account from a new computer or device. (Here’s how, by the way.)

Want to take your Facebook security one step further? Here’s where “login approvals” come in.

Once you turn on the “login approvals” feature, Facebook will demand a six-digit code if you or anyone else tries to log in to your account from an “unrecognized” computer or mobile device.

Now, this six-digit code isn’t another password you’d need to memorize.

Instead, whenever you need a verification code, Facebook will send it to your cell phone via text message—and yes, it’ll be different every time. (That’s why the expired code shown in the photo above won’t do anyone much good.)

Plug in the code, and you’ll be granted access to your account. Also, Facebook will add the computer or handheld you’re using to your list of “recognized” devices.

No code? Then no access to your account, even for hackers who’ve managed to get your Facebook username and password.

OK, so what happens if you can’t get a cellular signal, or if you lose your phone? In that case, you’ll be blocked from your account until you log in from a recognized computer or device.

Sound like a hassle? Maybe so—but personally, I’d rather type in the occasional verification code than get my Facebook account hacked.

Here’s how to turn login approvals on…

  • Click the little downward arrow in the top-right corner of any Facebook page, then select Account Settings.
  • In the left column of the following page, click the Security tab, then click the little “Edit” link to the right of the “Login Approvals” section.
  • Check the box marked “Require me to enter a security code each time an unrecognized computer or device tries to access my account.” When you do, a window will pop up with more information about login approvals and a Set Up Now button. Click the button, then confirm your cell phone number. (If you don’t already have a mobile number connected to your Facebook account, you’ll be prompted to add one.)
  • Facebook will send a text with a confirmation code to your cell phone. Go ahead and copy that code into the prompt that appears.
  • All set? If so, you’re done.

Bonus tip

If you have an Android phone, you can set the Facebook for Android app to generate login approval codes whenever you need them, even if you don’t have a cellular signal.

  • Just open your Facebook app, tap the menu button in the top-left corner of the screen, scroll all the way down and tap the Account button.
  • A pop-up window will appear, and one of the options will be “Code Generator”; go ahead and tap it, then tap the “Activate” button.
  • Now, the next time you need a new login approval code, just open Facebook for Android, tap the Menu button, then scroll down and tap Code Generator. In the middle of the screen, you’ll see a six-digit code, which will refresh about every 30 seconds or so.

Looking for more Facebook tips? Click here!