Apple Wants Passkeys to Replace Passwords: Here's Where You Can Try Them Out Now With iOS 16

Apple is on a mission to get rid of traditional passwords for good, and a step towards that future is something called "Passkeys." Passkeys aim to entirely replace passwords in both apps and on the web and instead use either your finger or face as the password.

Passkey Feature Triad
Passkeys are part of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura but also work on non-Apple devices and platforms such as Android and Windows. Apple's goal with Passkeys is to eliminate the need for users to ever type out, remember, or use a password again.

There are two scenarios for Passkeys: when you're using an Apple device and when you're on a Windows or Android device.

On an Apple Device

apple passkey
When you go to a website on your iPhone or iPad running ‌iOS 16‌ or a Mac on ‌macOS Ventura‌ that supports Passkeys, the website will not prompt you to enter a password as you may expect it to. Instead, you'll simply be asked to authenticate with Touch ID or Face ID.

On a Windows or Android Device

passkeys ios 16 2
On non-Apple devices, when you go to a website that supports Passkeys, you'll be asked to scan a QR code with your ‌iPhone‌ and then proceed to use ‌Touch ID‌ or ‌Face ID‌ as your actual password.

Passkeys will be more widely supported by apps and websites when ‌iOS 16‌ and ‌macOS Ventura‌ are released to all users this fall, but there are already some websites that support Passkeys. Here are just a few apps and websites that are starting to roll out support:

  • eBay
  • Best Buy
  • Cloudflare
  • Microsoft
  • Nvidia
  • PayPal
  • Carnival

ios 16 passkeys websites
In an interview earlier this month, Apple's director of platform product marketing Kurt Knight said, "This isn't a future dream to replace passwords. This is something that's going to be a road to completely replace passwords, and it's starting now."

Passkeys is just one of several new changes and features coming to ‌iOS 16‌ and ‌macOS Ventura‌ which you can learn about in our respective roundups.

Related Roundups: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura
Related Forums: iOS 16, macOS Ventura

Top Rated Comments

EmotionalSnow Avatar
7 weeks ago

That is just a cheap trick be Apple to make it more difficult to leave the Apple ecosystem and switch to Android, as long as you still need an iPhone in order for your Passkey to work on a Windows device. Hacking a good password is virtually impossible. Even if you only use nunbers and lowercase letters, there are 36 combinations for each letter of the password. So to more letters already makes it 1000 times more diffictult to hack.

Hacks usually happen at the server level and not at the user level. When millions of passwords for Ebay or Yahoo were hacked, Passkey would not have prevented that.
Sure, passkeys cannot prevent a database from being accessed by an attacker. The important difference is that when passkeys are leaked your account is not compromised because unlike passwords they use asymmetric cryptography and are also unique to every website.

Please do not spread misinformation about passkeys if you do not have a clue what you are talking about ...
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
7 weeks ago
This sounds really good and a nice evolution on passwords.


That is just a cheap trick be Apple to make it more difficult to leave the Apple ecosystem
This is the standard reply when Apple introduces something new.

When it’s a feature Android already had (even if worse), the common reply is “iNnOVAtion”.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ashdelacroix Avatar
7 weeks ago
I said at the time that this was the biggest announcement at the keynote, and I still believe that.

This will totally change how we authenticate online.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomnavratil Avatar
7 weeks ago

That is just a cheap trick be Apple to make it more difficult to leave the Apple ecosystem and switch to Android, as long as you still need an iPhone in order for your Passkey to work on a Windows device. Hacking a good password is virtually impossible. Even if you only use nunbers and lowercase letters, there are 36 combinations for each letter of the password. So to more letters already makes it 1000 times more diffictult to hack.

Hacks usually happen at the server level and not at the user level. When millions of passwords for Ebay or Yahoo were hacked, Passkey would not have prevented that.
Actually, the passkeys will utilize an open standard so they can be migrated between systems AFAIK. Also, passkeys or even passphrases are often more suitable options to stronger passwords - the latest NIST recommendations and guidelines are a good read on the matter.

These days, obtaining password via phishing is much more common compared to larger password leaks from companies. Personal data is leaked more often, certainly, passwords, not that much.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
7 weeks ago
For those asking how this works, here's a simplified explanation based on my understanding from reading and watching the online resources about it.

To register on a new site, say widget.com
[LIST=1]
* You go widget.com and navigate to its new-account creation page
* Type in what you want your username to be and then click "create account"
* Your phone will bring up a system sheet confirming you want to create a credential for widget.com. After you confirm, the phone will create a site-specific credential token (called "passkey" in FIDO parlance), the security of which is based on public-key encryption.
* The phone will store the token and private-key portion of the token on your iCloud Keychain. It will share the public-key portion of the token with widget.com so it can save it on their server.

Whenever you visit widget.com in the future, Safari will know you have a saved credential for the site and will confirm you'd like to login, similar to how it works today for traditional passwords saved in your keychain, including you proving you have rightful access to your keychain (Face ID, passkey, etc...). But instead of a password, Safari will present the passkey (token) to the site (which it already has stored on their server to compare), then verify you're the rightful owner of the token by proving to the site that your phone has the private key associated with the token (challenge/response).

This is an improvement over passwords because there is no password to be stored on a server or presented for each site, which reduces the attack surface of your credentials. It also solves the problem of weak user passwords, or users reusing their password across multiple sites.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacknTosh Avatar
7 weeks ago
So I’ve no idea how these work. Sounds great if you are using your own device. But what happens if you left your phone at home, and want to log on to, e.g. internet banking on a friend’s PC. Will it just be impossible? Or you’re on holiday and lose your phone, are you locked out of everything until you get your phone replaced when back home?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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