The Fido Alliance, an association working on new authentication methods to replace traditional passwords, announced last month that Apple, Google and Microsoft have committed to expanding support for the FIDO standard on their platforms. As part of WWDC 2022, Apple revealed that iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 finally allow passwordless logins with “passkeys.”
In fact, iOS 15 and macOS 12 are already compatible with the FIDO standard. However, when the previous implementation was implemented, the user had to register on any device for each application or website before the passwordless registration method was activated. With the latest Apple software, passwordless registration is a reality. Like Apple during WWDC 2022 keynote explainedBoth iOS 16 and macOS 13 now have “keys,” as this authentication method is called. With passkeys, users no longer need to enter a username and password to register with apps and websites, which reduces the risk of phishing attacks.
How passkeys work in iOS
For users, signing with a Passkey works much like signing in with icloud keychain and face ID or touch ID. You can just choose the access token, corroborate yourself with the biometric data and that’s it. While the Keychain ICLOUD string automatically fills in the username and password in plain text fields, the passkey bypasses. The system generates a clear key, which can only be accessed with user authentication via Face ID or Touch ID. This prevents harmful web sites from trying to steal your passwords, as the corridors keys are safely stored in the ICLOD key chain and not visible to the user.
Devices can generate QR code
Of course, passwords are automatically synced with your Apple devices. But what about other platforms? Since passkeys are based on the Fido standard, which is also implemented on Android and Windows, there is a way to register on a device that is not your own. The other device generates a QR code that can be read by your iPhone or iPad. IOS uses Face ID or Touch ID to confirm that you are trying to register before confirming or rejecting a third-party app or website request. And if you don’t own an iOS device or Mac, passkeys can be shared via Airdrop.
Availability and implementation
Since it’s a new API, developers need to update their apps and websites to support the new standard, so it may take some time for this technology to spread. Apple has already provided extensive documentation to help developers implement passkeys in their iOS and macOS apps. iOS 16 and macOS 13 is currently available as a developer beta program through the Apple Developer website. A public beta will be offered next month, while the official version will be released to all users in the fall. You can find out here if your device is compatible with the new software. (Photo: Apple)
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