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iOS 17’s upcoming Apple ID proximity sign-in sounds like it’s made for the Vision Pro

Published Sep 14th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
FaceTime, iMessage, iOS 17

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The Apple ID sign-in process is one of the most annoying things about my overall experience with Apple products. It can be quite tedious. It doesn’t happen too often. But you will need your Apple ID credentials whenever you set up a new device or perform certain actions on existing ones. Like disabling Find My protection.

The reason the process is so complex concerns the password. I have a longer, unique Apple ID password that I can’t remember. Not that I have to do it since I rely on password manager apps like 1Password and Proton Pass to protect my passwords. Apple ID will support passkeys in iOS 17, which should further simplify sign-ins in the future. But Apple is also working on a new Apple ID proximity sign-in feature for iOS 17 that would make it even easier than passkeys to sign in.

Apple ID proximity sign-in will be a great feature to use when setting up new products. Like the iPhone 15 that Apple just launched. I believe the real benefit will be making it easy to sign into Vision Pro once the spatial computer launches.

What is Apple ID proximity sign-in?

The name of the feature, Apple ID proximity sign-in, is self-explanatory. As long as you own a product where you’re signed into with your Apple ID, you’ll only need to bring the second product in its proximity to authenticate on that secondary device.

Here’s how Apple describes the feature:

Proximity sign-in. Signing in to set up a device is now easier than ever. Simply bring an existing signed-in and trusted iPhone or iPad into proximity, pair the devices by scanning the particle cloud, and you’re signed in automatically.

I’ve been waiting for such a feature for years, and it’s almost here. Apple says in its newly published iOS 17 document that 9to5Mac surfaced that the Apple ID proximity sign-in is coming later this year.

The document lists several other iOS 17 features that aren’t going to be available to users come Monday when the final iOS 17 build comes out.

Apple's Vision Pro spatial computer.
Apple’s Vision Pro spatial computer. Image source: Apple

That means you won’t be able to use it when you get your new iPhone 15 model next week. We’re probably looking at a feature that might be added to all iPhones via iOS 17.1 or an even later update. The feature should also be available on iPad and, hopefully, Mac.

Made for Vision Pro?

But I think it’ll really come in handy when setting up Vision Pro computers. After all, the headset has plenty of outward-facing cameras that record everything around the user. It’ll be easy to set up the Apple ID without inputting the password manually. Vision Pro will also feature a virtual keyboard only the wearer can see. That is, you’ll be able to enter Apple ID passwords manually. Or any other password.

Vision Pro launches early next year in the US. That gives Apple ample time to roll out the Apple ID proximity sign-in feature.

While we’re talking about Apple IDs, I’ll remind you again this is one of the most important logins in your life. You should ensure it’s protected by a strong password that you don’t share with others. Moreover, you might consider blocking Apple ID access on your iPhone to prevent thieves from abusing an Apple feature that might let them lock you out of your Apple ID.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.