Apple Aiming to Eliminate Passwords With Face ID/Touch ID Passkeys

Apple is developing a new passkey feature that will allow customers to use Face ID and Touch ID-based account authentication in lieu of a password, Apple engineer Garrett Davidson explained today in a WWDC developer session (via CNET).

apple passkey
"Passkeys in iCloud Keychain," a feature in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, stores a new WebAuthn credential called a passkey in ‌iCloud‌ keychain. It's used instead of a password for account creation and login, with one-tap login.

When you create an account using a passkey, there is no password to deal with. You can access that account with just a login and authentication through Touch ID or ‌Face ID‌.

No password is required because your Apple device handles the generation and storage of the unique passkey used for the site, so login is just a matter of entering a username and authenticating. Passkeys are end-to-end encrypted and synced across all of your Apple devices thanks to ‌iCloud‌ Keychain. Since everything is stored in ‌iCloud‌ Keychain, credentials are preserved even if Apple devices are lost or stolen.

Passkeys are more secure than most password plus two-factor authentication solutions, and developers can easily implement support for logins via passkeys.

At the current time, passkeys only work with Apple devices, so Apple is talking to partners at FIDO and the World Wide Web Consortium about a wider solution that would allow users to eliminate passwords across non-Apple devices as well.

Passkeys in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey are designed for testing and are not for production accounts as Apple tests the feature. Apple is allowing developers to test passkeys as part of a multiyear effort to replace passwords.

The emphasis of this preview is the authentication technology, an iCloud Keychain-backed WebAuthn implementation. An industry-wide transition away from passwords will need thoughtful and consistently applied design patterns, which are not part of this preview.

Passkeys can be seen in greater detail in Apple's full WWDC session "Move beyond passwords."

Related Roundup: WWDC 2024

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Top Rated Comments

countryside Avatar
40 months ago
I bet that gets complicated when signing in on a non-Apple device... I have found Sign in with Apple to be difficult enough at times.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
40 months ago

I bet that gets complicated when signing in on a non-Apple device... I have found Sign in with Apple to be difficult enough at times.
So you see why Apple would love this.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
40 months ago
Along with 2FA, this is a great stuff.

However, I wish Apple would make an app for managing passwords, credit cards, and passkeys. Burying them in the Settings app (or Safari Passwords Preferences or awful Keychain Access utility in macOS) is just not scalable.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spudlicious Avatar
40 months ago

Potential accidental slip that the new iPhone will have both Touch ID and Face ID.

(Touch ID anywhere under the screen)
Or could be just recognising the vast number of Touch ID devices in existence and still (MacBooks, iPhone SE) being sold.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8CoreWhore Avatar
40 months ago
Guys.... they want to REPLACE passwords... not manage them. And they want it open for all platforms not just Apple.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
40 months ago

Potential accidental slip that the new iPhone will have both Touch ID and Face ID.

(Touch ID anywhere under the screen)
why? it's an ios15 feature, iOS will work on older touchid iPhones, so good backward thinking by Apple
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)