At WWDC 2022, Apple announced iOS 16, promising to bring a slew of new features to the iPhone. One such feature is Passkeys, which aims to eliminate the use of passwords across the web.
While this may sound too good to be true, Apple’s Passkeys feature has its fair share of pros and cons. But before we go through them, let’s briefly discuss what this feature is all about.
What Are Passkeys?
A passkey is a software technology that primarily uses facial ID and fingerprint biometrics to unlock your apps. It rules out the insecure password login technique, currently the most used security procedure for authentication.
Compared to passwords, passkeys 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 work by allowing users to use Touch ID or Face ID to authenticate app sign-ins. All iOS 16-enabled devices can support these magical keys programmed to change how we log in to all our apps and websites.
It is important to know both the advantages and disadvantages of iOS 16’s Passkeys feature, as it’s not the perfect feature you’d expect. This way, you’d have realistic expectations when Apple rolls out Passkeys to its devices.
Advantages of iOS 16’s PassKeys for iPhone Users
A future with no security vulnerability seems promising and technologically safe, and iOS 16’s passkey is already on the verge of actualizing this reality. Below are the five main advantages of iOS 16’s PassKeys feature for iPhone users.
1. Passkeys Synchronize With iCloud
Having your passkeys on the iCloud Keychain provides you with end-to-end encryption. What does this mean? It assures you that not even Apple has access to your passkeys.
You can also rest assured that through iCloud’s cryptographic keys and functional ability to prevent cyber attacks, you can always recover your passkeys, even in cases of lost devices.
2. Passkeys Provide Additional Security to Users
The privacy that passkeys provide to iPhone users guarantees end-to-end encryption. Since facial ID and fingerprint are all you need to secure your device, you will not experience the problem of cyber criminals hacking into your device.
3. Sign In to Apps and Sites Across Platforms
Passkeys are synced with iCloud Keychain, making them available across all Apple devices. This advantage removes the need for different passwords for your apps and websites.
According to Apple, you can even use your iPhone to log 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 Won’t Need to Create or Manage Passwords Again
Although various password managers exist, such as Dashlane, LastPass, LogMeOnce, BitWarden, RememBear, 1Password, and Keeper, these password managers also require passwords them prone to cyber threats.
However, you do not need to concern yourself with the problem of insecure passwords if you subscribe to using Apple’s Passkeys implementation in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
5. Your Accounts Will Be Immune to Phishing Attacks
Using passkeys to manage your accounts provides you with a strong security technique, making it nearly 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 penetrative means.
Disadvantages of iOS 16’s PassKeys for iPhone Users
The advantages 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 largely depends on large prime numbers, making it quite difficult for keys to be hacked. However, researchers expect that in years to come, quantum computers will be able to break down public-key cryptography. This will be a big problem if passkeys cannot be re-implemented with something more quantum-proof.
2. Websites Will Likely Retain Existing Passwords
It is important to note that it will take at least several years for most Internet users to switch to passkey as it’s a huge transition.
If this happens eventually, will your old passwords be destroyed when websites ask you to switch to passkeys? The answer is likely No. So, having one passkey-capable device may be a problem if your other devices are not compatible.
3. Face ID and Touch ID Complications
The major problem with using only biometrics is that slight changes in the user’s physical features may render them ineffective, as they have been programmed to capture specifics.
So, if you switch entirely to PassKeys, you’ll be hard-pressed to ensure that your face looks the same across time, and your fingers must be clean.
4. User Preferences
As passkeys look fairly limited to iOS 16 and macOS Ventura for the time being, only Apple users get to be early adopters of this feature.
However, some users prefer passwords and may not appreciate a complete switch to passkeys if Apple makes them the cornerstone of cybersecurity on their devices. People’s preferences differ, and Apple must consider this.
5. Uneven Rate of Technological Development
While Apple and the wider tech community may see passkeys as the future of technological security, it is essential to note that implementing the technology across the board may be counterproductive.
While much of the Western world may easily adapt to using passkeys, several developing countries may not adopt the technology as fast. And if this doesn’t happen, the primary aim of passkeys, which is creating a world without passwords, may not be feasible.
iOS 16’s PassKeys Feature Is Worth Trying
Apple’s Passkeys implementation in iOS 16 appears to be the future of online security. Although the feature has some associated problems, it comes with a major evolution in the security world of tech.
As an iPhone user, you will no longer need to remember passwords or worry about the security and safety of your devices. It’s a feature that many will appreciate eventually, as there will be a constant and deliberate effort on the part of its developers to manage the challenges we listed above.
Read the full article here