Starting this fall, your Apple ID will double as the gateway to Apple's web services, as the company automatically assigns a passkey to Apple IDs for use with web-based logins.
The move will take place when iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma make their debuts later this year. Once it happens, you'll be able to login to Apple accounts on the web — think services like iCloud.com — without having to remember a password.
In fact, if you're using the beta versions of those software programs, you may already be able to use your Apple ID as a passkey for Apple web logins. Beta testers for the iOS, iPadOS and macOS updates report that they've been prompted to enroll in passkey authentication, using the feature to log in to iCloud as well as appleid.apple.com.
Of course, the only beta versions of those updates are currently available to developers following their release at WWDC 2023 earlier this month. Public betas of iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma are slated to arrive in July, and it's possible the passkey feature will be available to that wider audience then.
The ability to use your Apple ID as a passkey for Apple's web may be new, but passkeys certainly aren't. Apple joined with Google, Microsoft, and others through the FIDO Alliance last fall to put an end to passwords as the tool you use to log in to sites and services. That's because passwords aren't particularly secure — as they're stored on someone else's server, they can be stolen in data breaches. You can also be tricked into sharing your passwords by way of phishing attacks.
Passkeys work differently. They're a login credential that's tied to your device — in Apple's case, that's an iPhone, iPad or Mac — and you use biometric verification like Touch ID or Face ID. Apple introduced passkeys as part of its software release last fall for its phones, tablets and computers.
For its part, Google announced last month that it had started adding passkey support for Google accounts. That move followed passkey support coming to the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome late last year.
In addition to being able to use your Apple ID as a passkey with Apple's sites, the feature will also work with the Sign In with Apple feature on the web that lets you mask your identity when signing into a website.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.