Apple launches Face ID and Touch ID authentication for Web in iOS, iPadOS and macOS

At the WWDC20 engineering session, Apple released an innovative and secure authentication feature for developers. Introduced as “Meet Face ID and Touch ID for the web”, the Webkit Engineer, Jiewen Tan, explained that the now developers can allow users to re-sign on their websites via Face ID or Touch ID by using ‘web authentication’ API.

Apple describes the new feature as:

“Face ID and Touch ID provide a frictionless experience when logging in — and now you can use them on your websites in Safari with the Web Authentication API”.

This new authentication feature will allow users to easily and quickly re-sign in websites without having to type in username and password every time. As the feature is available for websites on Safari on iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, the developers will be able to design their websites for Face ID and Touch ID authentication for iPhone and Touch ID for iPad and Mac.

Web Authentication API

In the in-depth video session, Tan detailed the steps developers will need to follow to incorporate the new faster authentication feature to their websites.

  • Web Authentication
  • Platform Authentication
  • Adopting Face ID and Touch ID
  • Best practices

Web Authentication uses public key cryptography which brings many unique features: website, Javascript object called Public key credentials, authenticator and attestation. Tan highlighted the security benefits of using Web Authentication API as it is a very secure and strong mode of authentication, and is phishing resistance against attempts by websites to scoop credentials and authenticator bound credentials.

This strong Web Authentication API paired with Apple’s platform authenticators on iPhone, iPad and Mac, delivers multi-factor authentication in a single step which makes this new login alternative not only faster but also very secure.

Face ID and Touch ID

Currently, Face ID and Touch ID authentication are used in place of a password to access a device or an app, after an initial log in procedure is complete which requires users to log in with their username, password, and sometimes a verification code. Now the same capability will be used for websites in Safari.

Personally, this new authentication feature for the web is an incredible technological invention which illustrates Apple’s journey of developing supporting hardware and software to deliver innovative solutions.

As the WWDC 2020 heads towards its end on June 26, new features and technologies will be revealed. Watch the complete video session here.

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