Google Titan security keys simplified: The big changes explained

Google sells Titan security keys for users who need stronger account protection — and going forward, buying and using these hardware keys just got easier. Google has announced some changes that it says will simplify the experience of choosing and using the security keys. The changes will go live tomorrow, August 10.

What's a Titan security key? Put simply, it's a small key-like hardware device that prevents others who don't possess the key from accessing your Google account. These keys sell for $25 each and, starting tomorrow, they will be offered in only two varieties: one with USB-A connectivity and one with USB-C connectivity.

According to Google, both versions of the Titan security key feature built-in NFC, meaning that for many devices it can be used by simply tapping it to the back of the gadget rather than plugging it in. With this change, Google notes that it will discontinue its Bluetooth-based Titan security key.

If you already own a Bluetooth Titan security key, don't worry; Google will continue to support this model, including honoring their warranties. As you'd expect, these security keys work with Windows, macOS, Android phones, iPhones, and tablets including the iPad.

Using the keys is simple. Google says that if your computer only has USB-A ports, you should get the USB-A version of the new Titan security key. Likewise, if your computer has a USB-C port, you should get that version of the key. Many modern devices, including some newer iPad models, have USB-C connectors, which means you can use this same key with them.

If you own an iPad model that still has a Lightning connector, however, you'll need to get Apple's Lightning adapter and use it with the USB-A Titan security key for the extra layer of security. The new NFC Titan security keys will be available through the Google Store starting tomorrow — and they'll include a slight price increase to $30 for the USB-A NFC Titan key (including a USB-C adapter) and $35 for the USB-C NFC Titan key.