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Apple's introduction of passwords means you can authenticate to some apps and services with Face ID or Touch ID instead of having to remember your password. That's how you get started.
Introduced at WWDC 2022 in June and rolled out as a feature in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, passkeys are a way to authenticate a user in apps and online services. The bottom line is that it does this without requiring the user to enter a password as a form of identification.
Passkeys lead to the often-talked about future without passwords, where devices and apps can verify a person's identity without much interaction. While users still need to do something to prove their identity in some way, access keys do this in other ways than a normal password.
In addition to not having to enter a password, access keys offer quite a few benefits, including the use of strong end-to-end encryption and no easy-to-guess password to worry about. It's also possible to share passkeys using AirDrop, as well as use them on other connected Apple devices and even third-party hardware.
How do passwords work?
A standard created by the FIDO Alliance. and the World Wide Web Consortium, access keys are cryptographic keys associated with an identity verification device. The password actually consists of a public and private pair, with the former registered with the service itself and the private stored securely on your device.
This public-private access scheme has been used before and is commonly used in cryptographic applications. By exchanging keys, the device and the service or application can verify that the device and its current user records match and verify their identity.
The device itself must verify the identity of the user before the exchange. This is handled by biometric data, which on an iPhone can be Face ID or Touch ID.
After biometric confirmation, the device exchanges with the appropriate service, after which access is granted.
What can I use passwords with?
< p>Since this is a relatively new security standard, it may take time for web services to implement it. With the advancement of Apple's passwords, as well as their adoption by Google and Microsoft, more online destinations must use it for authentication over time.
As you might expect, the list of well-known applications and online services that work with access keys is relatively small, but is likely to grow quite quickly.
As of November 15, 2022, the following popular services can use access keys:
- Best Buy
- eBay .
- WordPress.< /li>
How to start using passkeys
There are a few things you need to do in order to be able to use access keys. To get started, your hardware must be updated to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.
You need to make sure iCloud Keychain is enabled so it can sync with other Apple devices. It's best to do this ahead of time, but you'll be prompted to enable it when you create a disabled key password.
How to enable Keychain iCloud keys in iOS 16
- Open Settings.
- Press Passwords and authenticate.
- Press Password Options.
- Enable Password Autofill.
- Make sure that next to both instances of iCloud Passwords & Keychain for “Allow data to be filled in” and “Set up verification codes with”.
You will also need to turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.
How to enable two-factor Apple ID authentication
Click on your name.
Click Passwords & Security.
Click Enable two-factor authentication and follow the instructions.
From now on, you will be able to set up and manage access keys on your device.
The passkey setup process tends to follow the same pattern throughout the industry, with slight variations at the start.
How to set up passwords for a new account on your iPhone
- On the login or create account screen for a companion app or website in Safari , register new account, including entering an account name, email address, or any other request.
- If access keys are supported, a popup will ask you if you want to save the access key. Click continue.
- If the popup doesn't appear right away, look for an option to use an access key or a form of “other” authentication. When the popup appears, click Continue.
How to set up passwords for an existing account on your iPhone
- For an existing account, sign in as normal .
- Open account management screen for this app or website.
- Find the relevant setting in your account settings, which may include a password or security-related items. It might be under Hardware Security Appliance or Multi-Factor Security.
- You will usually see the add passkey option, which will bring up the passkey popup.
- Click Continue.
How to login with passwords on iPhone
- Open login or app login page.
- If a password has been enabled for this service, a popup will usually appear asking if you want to log in. Click Continue and complete the authentication request.
- On some websites, you may be required to enter a email address or username before a pop-up appears. When it does, click Continue and complete the authentication prompt.
Passkey management< /h2>
Once you've started using passkeys, you can use your iPhone to manage their usage. For example, you can view all passwords on the device and also delete them.
To access the list, open Settings, then click Passwords to view the list. Tap each passkey to view options, such as adding notes to the passkey or deleting it completely.