At WWDC 2022, Apple announced iOS 16, promising to bring a number of new features to the iPhone. One such feature is Passkeys, which aims to eliminate the use of passwords online.
While this may sound too good to be true, Apple’s Passkeys feature has its share of pros and cons. But before we go through them, let’s briefly discuss what this feature is all about.
What Oar Access keys?
A passkey is a software technology that primarily uses face ID and fingerprint biometrics to unlock your apps. It excludes the insecure password login technique, currently the most widely used security procedure for authentication.
Compared to passwords, passwords are very easy to use. They allow users to replace keystroke passwords with a quick and convenient biometric check.
As a result, tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple can end most types of phishing attacks and the complications of two-factor authentication that characterize passwords.
Apple’s Passkeys implementation works by allowing users to use Touch ID or Face ID to authenticate app logins. All iOS 16-enabled devices can support these magic keys that are programmed to change how we sign in to all our apps and websites.
It’s important to know both the pros and cons of iOS 16’s Passkeys feature, as it’s not the perfect feature you’d expect. This way, you’ll have realistic expectations when Apple rolls out passkeys for its devices.
Benefits of iOS 16’s PassKeys for iPhone users
A future without security vulnerabilities seems promising and technologically safe, and iOS 16’s passwords are already on the verge of actualizing this reality. Below are the five main benefits of iOS 16’s PassKeys feature for iPhone users.
1. Passkeys sync with iCloud
Having your passwords on iCloud Keychain gives you end-to-end encryption. What does this mean? It assures you that not even Apple has access to your passwords.
You can also rest assured that through iCloud’s cryptographic keys and functional ability to prevent cyber attacks, you can always recover your passwords, even in cases of lost devices.
2. Access keys provide additional security to users
The privacy that passwords provide to iPhone users guarantees end-to-end encryption. Since Face ID and fingerprint are all you need to secure your device, you won’t experience the problem of cybercriminals hacking into your device.
3. Sign in to apps and websites across platforms
Access keys sync with iCloud Keychain, making them available on all Apple devices. This benefit removes the need for different passwords for your apps and websites.
According to Apple, you can even use your iPhone to sign in to websites and apps on non-Apple devices, like your Windows computer or your friend’s Android phone. All you need to do is authenticate with Touch ID and Face ID.
4. Users do not need to create or manage passwords again
Although there are various password managers, such as Dashlane, LastPass, LogMeOnce, BitWarden, RememBear, 1Password and Keeper, these password managers also require passwords that are vulnerable to cyber threats.
However, you don’t have to worry about the problem of insecure passwords if you subscribe to use Apple’s Passkeys implementation in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
5. Your accounts will be immune to phishing attacks
Using passwords to manage your accounts gives you a strong security technique, making it almost impossible for your accounts to be penetrated.
Phishers and other unscrupulous Internet characters are unlikely to gain access to your accounts using keystroke logging and other penetrating means.
Cons of iOS 16’s PassKeys for iPhone users
The benefits of Apple’s PassKeys implementation are significant. However, there are some limitations you should be aware of before you get too excited. Let’s look at them below:
1. The potential problem with cryptography
Cryptography relies heavily on large prime numbers, which makes it quite difficult for keys to be hacked. However, researchers expect that in the coming years, quantum computers will be able to break down public key cryptography. This will be a big problem if passwords can’t be reimplemented with something more quantum secure.
2. Sites are likely to retain existing passwords
It is important to note that it will take at least several years for most Internet users to switch to passwords, as it is a huge transition.
If this eventually happens, will your old passwords be destroyed when websites ask you to change them? The answer is probably no. So having one device with passkey can be a problem if your other devices are not compatible.
3. Face ID and Touch ID complications
The biggest problem with using only biometrics is that small changes in the user’s physical features can render them ineffective, as they are programmed to pick up specific details.
So if you’re switching all the way to PassKeys, you’ll be hard pressed to make sure your face looks the same over time, and your fingers need to be clean.
4. User settings
Since passkeys look pretty limited to iOS 16 and macOS Ventura at the moment, only Apple users can be early adopters of this feature.
However, some users prefer passwords and may not appreciate a complete switch to passwords if Apple makes them the cornerstone of cybersecurity on their devices. People’s preferences are different, and this Apple has to consider.
5. Uneven speed of technological development
While Apple and the wider tech community may see passwords as the future of tech security, it’s important to note that implementing the technology across the board could be counterproductive.
While large parts of the Western world can easily adapt to using passwords, several developing countries may not adopt the technology as quickly. And if this does not happen, the main goal of passwords, which is to create a world without passwords, may not be feasible.
iOS 16’s PassKeys feature is worth a try
Apple’s Passkeys implementation in iOS 16 looks to be the future of online security. Although the feature has some associated issues, it comes with a major development in the security world of technology.
As an iPhone user, you no longer need to remember passwords or worry about the safety and security of your devices. It’s a feature that many will appreciate over time, as there will be a constant and conscious effort on the part of the developers to deal with the challenges we listed above.