Apple Engineers Propose Standardized Format for SMS One-Time Passcodes

Apple WebKit engineers have put forward a proposal to make one-time passcode SMS messages more secure by developing a standardized format for the two-step verification process, reports ZDNet.

one time passcode sms black background
Two-step verification logins require a user's password and another element that only the user would know – in this case, a one-time code sent via text message – to gain access to an online account.

As it stands, these SMS messages can arrive in a variety of formats, making it difficult or impossible for apps and websites to detect them and automatically extract their information.

Apple's proposal has two goals. The first is to introduce a way that one-time passcode SMS messages can be associated with the website, by adding the login URL inside the message itself.

The second goal is to standardize the format of the SMS messages, so that browsers and other apps can identify the incoming message, recognize the URL, and then extract the OTP code for automatic insertion into the appropriate login field on the website.

The idea behind automating OTP entry is that it eliminates the risk of users falling for a scam and entering an OTP code on a phishing site with a different URL.

Apple developers provided the following example of the new format SMS message for OTP codes:

747723 is your WEBSITE authentication code.
@website.com #747723

The first line is intended for the user, enabling them to determine the website that the SMS OTP code came from, while the second line is processed by browsers and apps so that they can automatically extract the OTP code and complete the 2FA login operation.

If auto-complete fails, users will be able to check the URL of the website that sent the text against the site they're trying to log in to.

According to the report, Google Chrome engineers are already on board with Apple's proposal, but Mozilla's Firefox team have yet to provide official feedback on the standard.

The new proposals would add another layer of security to Apple's existing security code autofill feature, introduced in iOS 12, that can detect one-time passcodes in Messages and display them conveniently above the user's keyboard.

Top Rated Comments

fjfjfjfj Avatar
21 months ago
The way iOS captures the text code and fills it automatically is so convenient. It’s one of those little features that just makes things a bit easier and I smile every time it does it.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adammusic Avatar
21 months ago
now work on auto deleting those messages after 10 minutes.
They pile up.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
araadt Avatar
21 months ago

Way to solve the problems of 10 years ago. Apple used to be more forward looking than this.
If the problems of ten years ago aren’t solved yet that makes them the problems of today.

I could likely get my mother to use 2FA by sms but I’d never be able to convince her of carrying around an Authenticator device or using a keygen app. If we have the opportunity, shouldn’t we refine all options?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
21 months ago
2FA using SMS is better than nothing, but is not very secure because of how SMSs can be intercepted.

If Apple is pushing for standards, why not standardize a proper 2FA protocol (e.g., OATH) and require all smartphones to have a standard compatible authenticator app built-in?

Indeed, I bet Apple could do it by themselves if they just bundle a 2FA app into iOS using a common open protocol. It's hard to get users to downloading Authy or similar app, but if its built-in it will take off. Service providers will be incentivized to adopt that protocol so their 2FA can be native in iOS, and the Androids will copy Apple as they always do.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lobbyist Avatar
21 months ago
It’s a very Apple like proposal - it just works.


The way iOS captures the text code and fills it automatically is so convenient. It’s one of those little features that just makes things a bit easier and I smile every time it does it.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
21 months ago
Yes please! I hate it when making a payment, your bank sends the text but you can only copy the entire message as a whole so you have to remember it. And the code expires after a few seconds.

Actually, not being able to select and copy text from messages is extremely annoying, like when someone sends you someones phone number or email address but doesn't leave a space before and after it... The bane of my existence.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...