In the context: Apple talked about many of the new features coming to the next major version of macOS – Ventura – and iOS16 at WWDC 2022. One of the most intriguing is passkeys, which replace passwords for any websites and apps that require authentication.

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Almost anyone will tell you that creating and maintaining secure, hard-to-crack passwords is a headache. Password managers are useful for remembering and automatically entering credentials, but even they are not 100% secure. Even the most secure passwords are useless if they are leaked as a result of a data breach, especially if the password to your password manager leaks!

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Apple thinks it has a way authenticate users securely without having to remember complicated passwords and worry about changing them frequently. Access Keys are based on biometrics to allow Safari users to log into websites without the possibility of their credentials being stolen.

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“Passkeys are unique digital keys that remain on the device and are never stored on a web server, so hackers cannot steal them or trick users into sharing them,” Apple said. “Password Keys make it easy to securely sign in using Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification and iCloud Keychain for end-to-end encrypted synchronization between Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.”

However, Apple says the technology is not limited for Safari users only. It works in apps and third-party devices, that is, if you have an iPhone with Touch ID or Face ID. In other words, you can log into your bank’s website from your Chrome PC by scanning a QR code with your iPhone.

This feature essentially turns your device into a physical authentication key. While passkeys are synced across a user’s Apple devices via iCloud Keychain, they remain on the device when they sign in to a website or app and are never stored in a database for leaks or hacks.

However, this feature has some limitations. Basically it’s just compatible Macs released after 2017 or 2018 running Ventura, and iPhone 8 and iPhone SE 2nd generation or later with iOS 16. installed.

Access codes are part of the initiative began Apple, Google and Microsoft moved to passwordless authentication methods developed by the FIDO Alliance last month, which is one of the reasons it works across platforms. Google and Microsoft should be close to disclosing their versions of the technology, as all three companies have pledged to implement it before the end of the year.

The password became available on Monday with the release of the macOS Ventura beta to members of the Apple Developer Program. The public beta will begin next month, and the final stable release of Ventura will be released this fall.