Before looking into which YubiKey would suit your needs the best, it’s important to understand what a YubiKey is:
The YubiKey is an extra layer of security to your online accounts. When logging into an account with a YubiKey registered, the user must have the account login credentials (username+password), and the YubiKey registered to the account. This physical layer of protection prevents many account takeovers that can be done virtually.
Yubico offers plenty of different form-factors for the YubiKey as well as different options for the connectors. To choose your YubiKey, ask yourself the following questions:
What USB-ports do the devices you wish to protect have?
- USB A: YubiKey 5 NFC, YubiKey 5 Nano & Security Key NFC*
- USB C: YubiKey 5C NFC, YubiKey 5Ci, YubiKey 5C & YubiKey 5C Nano
- Lightning: YubiKey 5Ci
What form factor do you prefer?
- Would you like it to be inserted in your computer at all times?
YubiKey 5C Nano or YubiKey 5 Nano
- Do you want the Key on your keychain?
YubiKey 5 NFC, YubiKey 5C NFC, Security Key, YubiKey 5C or YubiKey 5Ci
Which services would you like to use the Key with?
- Please use our Works with YubiKey Catalog to check which services and Keys are supported.
Spare Keys and Service Support
Furthermore, we at Yubico always recommend you buy a Spare Key as well, in case you lose your main Key. The form factor of the Spare Key does not need to be the same as your first purchased Key. Just make sure that it supports the security protocols you need. Please use our Works with YubiKey Catalog.
Please note that our Works with YubiKey Catalog may not list all the services that are compatible with our products. If the service could not be found in the catalog it could still support YubiKeys only that the service has chosen not to enroll in our Works with YubiKey Program. Please contact the unlisted service's own support to check if they have support for the YubiKey or not.
*Security Key NFC
The Security Key NFC only supports the protocols WebAuthN, FIDO2 and U2F. It is important to note that not all services have support for Security Key NFC. Please use our Works with YubiKey Catalog to see if the services you use are compatible or not. If the Security Key NFC is not compatible with the services you want to protect you will want to select a YubiKey from the 5 series instead.
A few other popular functions that require a YubiKey from the 5 series (the Security Key NFC is not supported) are:
For more information about the differences between the Keys, please check our Comparison Chart here.
iOS & iPad - Support
If you have an iPad Pro, please note that our YubiKeys are not compatible with Yubico Authenticator because the iPad Pro does not have lightning or NFC capabilities. At this time, due to MFI, only lightning ports are compatible with iPads.
When it comes to iPhones, please be aware that only iPhones 7 and newer support NFC in the way that is required for use with YubiKeys. The NFC on older iPhone models only works with Apple Pay. To work with a YubiKey, the NFC must have read and write capabilities.
If you want to know more about iOS and support, please read this article.
For businesses working in/with regulated industries
Most businesses will not need a FIPS certified Key. FIPS stands for Federal Information Processing Standard. The YubiKey 5 FIPS keys are primarily used for companies working in or with regulated industries, usually federal or government agencies. FIPS is a security certification that meets strict security standards. You can learn more here.
Please note that our YubiKey 5 series FIPS does not support open PGP. However they do now support the FIDO2 protocol.
If you still need more information about the differences between our Products, please take a look at our Comparison Chart.