Android 14 could mark the end of passwords as we know them, with a potential move to let third-party apps handle passkeys.
That's going by password manager firm Dashlane, which claimed in a blog post (opens in new tab) that changes are needed to allow third-party apps like the one it provides to manage passkeys in iOS and Android, and that “these are the very changes that have been included in [a] developer preview of Android 14." Given the company's involvement in Android apps, we’d say such a claim could be fairly accurate.
For the uninitiated, passkeys are basically easier-to-use versions of passwords, in which encryption keys are generated automatically by a device and are applied to each account needing a secured login. These passkeys are authenticated using biometric data, like a fingerprint, and use encryption whereby one key is public and stored remotely on, say, a cloud platform, and the other is private and stored on a device.
As such, not only are they easier to use, but they are also more secure as both keys are needed to access a secure login and the key on the device won’t be known by anyone else.
This means that passkeys can't fall foul of phishing attempts and don’t require users to remember passwords or trust a browser or keychain to hold onto their passwords; the latter can be rather secure but there's arguably always a risk of hacking.
To an extent, some of the best phones already do away with passwords, in that biometric security, like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, act as authentication tools for apps rather than requiring passwords to be put in. But a full adoption of passkeys could be the nail in the coffin for passwords, meaning you'll finally be able to give up on ‘joebloggs1969’ or trying to come up with ever-more varied passwords for different accounts, and simply rely on biometrics a lot more.
Android 14 is expected to make its debut in the fall, likely alongside a Google Pixel 8. And once launched you can expect it to roll out to the best Android phones over the subsequent months.