Passwords will be gone for good with iOS 16

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Since the beginning of computing, compromised passwords have been the largest threat to online security. Apple now wants to do away with the idea entirely.

Passkeys’ basic idea has been known since WWDC 2022, but up until this week, it was unclear how Apple will actually put the new standard into practice. Apple VP Darin Adler and senior director Kurt Night claimed in an exclusive interview with Tom’s Guide’s Mark Spoonauer that iOS 16 enables users to completely do away with passwords in favor of using Face ID or Touch ID as their login credentials.

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The secret key generated by Passkeys is stored locally on your iPhone using public key cryptography. When you sign into a website or other password-protected service, Safari first utilizes your biometric information (such as Face ID or Touch ID) to confirm that it is you before automatically entering the locally stored private key. Additionally, you can sign in on any Apple device using the iCloud Keychain, which is a feature of iCloud.com.

You can generate a QR code that your iPhone can scan in order to log into a service like Netflix or a banking institution from a non-Apple device. Apple will then confirm that you are nearby the device you are attempting to use and log you in automatically. Additionally, you can retrieve your previous keys using your iCloud account if you don’t have your iPhone with you (or if it is lost or stolen).

The FIDO Alliance, a partnership between Apple, Google, and Microsoft to do away with passwords, is being implemented by Apple with this technology. The latter two businesses have shown off Passkey technology, but Apple is the first to integrate it into its most well-known platforms. Passkeys should be available in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura by the end of the year.

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