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Passkeys are the best part of iOS 17, and they are only going to get better

Published Aug 13th, 2023 4:12PM EDT
apple passkey ios 17, macos
Image: Apple

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The next iteration of Apple’s iOS platform is only a month or so away, and that means that the rollout of public betas is in full swing. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent a good bit of time with the newest betas for iOS 17, testing it out just to see how I feel about the new features before Apple makes them the default option, and so far, Passkeys are one of my favorite additions, and they’re only going to get better as more apps take advantage of them.

Passkeys are essentially passwords but better. For iOS 17 users, Passkeys come in the form of a QR code that you can scan using your iPhone. Once scanned, you then use your phone’s biometrics to sign into your account, negating the need to type in your password.

They’ll also be available on your phone itself, allowing you to bypass the typing of the password on your phone, too. While Passkeys are more secure and convenient than typing a password, they are very limited right now, which is the only downside to this new feature in iOS 17.

At the moment you can only use the new passkeys feature if you’ve signed up for the account using your Apple sign-in info. Other apps, like 1Password, will allow you to create and save Passkeys using the new API, but that isn’t native through Apple, and it isn’t available just yet in the beta. But as more apps take advantage of Passkeys, they’re going to become a lot easier to use.

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iPhone 14 Pro Max Home Screen iOS 17 public beta 1. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

While convenient and handy, if you’ve been using the internet half as long as I have, there are no doubt many accounts you’ve signed up for using your own personal email that aren’t attached to your Apple sign-in at all. That means those items aren’t eligible for Apple’s new Passkey feature when using iOS 17. 

It’s a small concession, but it is still something to be aware of when you download iOS 17 and start getting excited about this new security feature. There are other ways to take advantage of Passkeys in iOS, including using a third-party password manager, as I mentioned above. My favorite is 1Password, but setting it up isn’t as easy as using Apple’s built-in Keychain on your phone or Mac computer, so you might not want to go with that method if you prefer simplicity.

Ultimately, Passkeys on iOS 17 is really convenient, and I can see myself making use of it a lot on the accounts that are eligible for it, especially once 1Password and other third-party managers really dig into it. It will especially make signing into my Apple ID on the computer much easier, as I can never recall my full password since I rarely have to enter it. So, if you’re like me in that regard, you’ll be happy to take full advantage of Passkeys when iOS 17 releases later this year.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.