Apple killed passwords with new passkeys on iPhone, iPad, Mac, & Apple TV

Macos Passkey Prompt
Macos Passkey Prompt (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced the replacement for passwords as part of its big software rollout update for later this year.
  • New passkeys will allow people to sign into apps and websites without needing to know a password.
  • The macOS Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and tvOS 16 updates will enable the use of passkeys.

Apple today announced the arrival of passkey, a new next-generation credential that will make it safer to log in to apps and websites on any device including iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TV set-top boxes.

Announced as part of the macOS Ventura unveiling during the WWDC22 opening keynote, passkeys are designed to help replace passwords across Apple devices. Apple says that passwords are problematic because they are stored on web servers, giving hackers the chance to steal them or trick users into sharing them. Neither is possible when passwords are replaced by passkeys, the company says.

Browsing in Safari is even safer with passkeys, next-generation credentials that are more secure, easy to use, and designed to replace passwords. Passkeys are unique digital keys that stay on device and are never stored on a web server, so hackers can't leak them or trick users into sharing them. Passkeys make it simple to sign in securely, using Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification, and iCloud Keychain to sync across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV with end-to-end encryption. They will also work across apps and the web, and users can even sign in to websites or apps on non-Apple devices using their iPhone.

Passkey support will allow people to quickly and easily sign into their apps and websites without needing to remember passwords of any kind. Signing in will be as simple as using Touch ID or Face ID, handling a biometric component that will ensure that third parties can't gain access. Notably, Apple says that even those using non-Apple devices will be able to sign in using passkeys, although they'll still need an iPhone to do it.

Passwords have long been an issue with data leaks opening people up to a variety of problems. The reuse of passwords is commonplace, and while many reading this will use a password manager and strong, unique passwords, that simply isn't the case for the majority — and it's those people that stand to benefit the most from something like passkeys.

Passkeys will be available as part of the macOS Ventura update alongside that of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and tvOS 16. In fact, passkeys could low-key be one of the best Mac and iPhone features announced during WWDC so far.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.