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Apple is going to allow users to sign up without passwords using Face, Touch ID

The age of remembering complex passwords is over, at least for Apple devices.

Announced in a developer session called “Move beyond passwords”, Apple introduced something they call Passkeys. Announced in a developer session called “Move beyond passwords”, Apple introduced something they call Passkeys.
Announced in a developer session called “Move beyond passwords”, Apple introduced something they call Passkeys. (TNW/Apple)

Apple had announced in the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last year that it is going to allow you to sign in to websites on Safari using Face ID and Touch ID. Now, they are taking that a step further and are introducing passwordless sign-ups. Announced in a developer session called “Move beyond passwords”, Apple introduced something they call Passkeys. These Passkeys will allow you to sign up for services without any passwords. “Despite their prevalence, passwords inherently come with challenges that make them poorly suited to securing someone's online accounts,” Apple explained. 

So how exactly will Passkeys work?

When you visit a website that supports Passkeys, you will enter your username of choice when you register and then use Face ID or Touch ID to sign in instead of using a password. Your Face ID or Touch ID will be used to authenticate you and sign you in. Passkey is coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Macs later this year as a technology preview so it will be turned off by default. This new Passkey tech is a part of the iCloud keychain and it is based on FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance’s WebAuthn protocol. Apple joined this alliance last year to support password-free authentication.

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Passkey is coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Macs later this year as a technology preview so it will be turned off by default.
Passkey is coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Macs later this year as a technology preview so it will be turned off by default. (TNW/Apple )

As you can see on the chart, this Passkey is a pretty secure method for authentication and this will prevent you from falling prey to a phishing attack. However, this tech is not going to work for devices that aren’t a part of the Apple ecosystem. With those Android devices, you will still have to use passwords.

Now, it’s not all bad news since Google and Microsoft already have support for passwordless logins through biometric authentication and hardware keys like Yubico. Microsoft had mentioned in March that more than 200 million accounts are already using a login method that doesn’t involve passwords.

Besides this new tech involving Passkeys, Apple has also created APIs for hardware security keys in macOS Monterey and iOS 15. Developer beta for iOS 15 is currently out and the public beta is coming soon. Developer beta for Monterey and watchOS 8 is also out. 

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