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Apple takes a small step towards a future without a password

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Apple’s upcoming iOS 15 and macOS Monterey are previewing a new feature called Passkeys in iCloud Keychain, an attempt to help replace passwords with a more secure login process.

Instead of logging into an app or website with a text string, show Show WWDC How Alternatively You Can Use Face ID, Touch ID, or a Security Key to Access.

The passkeys are then synced across your Apple devices using iCloud.

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Although passwords are currently the most popular way to secure accounts, they suffer from a host of problems.

Passwords can be phished and forgotten. It can also be unsafe if not used properly. But Apple believes that its new solution can solve these problems.

In a demo, Apple demonstrated how the new feature could eliminate the need to create a password to sign into an app or website in the first place.

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Instead of generating a username and password during the registration process as usual, Apple engineer Garrett Davidson entered a username and allowed the app to register its face ID as a passkey.

He then explained how he could use Face ID to log into the app in the future, or even log into his account via the service website. The solution works across Macs with Touch ID as well.

The functionality is based on the WebAuthn standard, which Apple, Google, Microsoft and others are slowly adding over time.

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Apple is moving towards getting rid of passwords:

Apple last year added support for the standard in order to offer passwordless logins in the Safari browser in iOS and macOS.

But the new approach goes even deeper, incorporating WebAuthn into the app registration process and syncing your credentials across Apple devices via iCloud.

WebAuthn uses public key cryptography to allow you to log in without your data having to leave your device.

Instead, your phone or computer just sends a signature, which proves your identity without having to share your secret key.

Apple acknowledges that the feature is in its early stages. It is released in preview only this year. It is turned off by default in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

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Developers can enable it. But it is not intended for widespread use. There is also an obvious limitation that the feature relies on iCloud to function, so you can’t use it for Log in to the same service via a Windows or Android device.

Apple acknowledges that this is a problem, however, and notes that it is working to improve cross-platform support in the future. Apps and websites also need to enable support for the new process.

The move is another sign of the growing momentum behind password abandonment. And Microsoft announced plans to make Windows 10 passwordless. Google is making it possible to sign in to its services without passwords.

ALSO READ: Apple unveils iOS 15 with new FaceTime features

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