Apple’s ‘Passkeys’ Logon Feature Uses Face ID, Touch ID for Third-Party Online Services

Apple is dreaming of a password-free future.

In a WWDC developer session titled “Move beyond passwords,” Apple engineer Garret Davidson shows a new feature, allowing users to sign up for new online services using Face ID or Touch ID instead of a password.

The feature, called Passkeys in iCloud Keychain, is coming in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, and it will have to be supported by third party services to work, explains a report from CNET. Using it is really simple; when you encounter a “sign in” page on a new service, you’ll be able to sign up for it with Face ID or Touch ID, and you’ll never have to type in a password to log into that service.

Based on WebAuthn technology, all Passkeys will be generated and stored on your device. Like passwords on the iCloud Keychain, they will be synchronized across all your Apple devices via your Apple ID.

“Because it’s just a single tap to sign in, it’s simultaneously easier, faster and more secure than almost all common forms of authentication today,” explained Davidson.

The feature is currently only available for developers to test out and submit feedback to Apple as it continues its work to bring a post-password future into reality. Moving away from passwords, as Apple has explained, will be a multi-year project.

While we’re still a few years away from this transition, the fact that Apple has implemented it in its new operating systems is important. Given the company’s huge installed base, it exerts major influence on the tech industry and the adoption of new technology.