No More Passwords: Understanding Passkeys and the password-free future


Despite innovations such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanners, individual identity credentials on the web continue to be ruled by passwords. Passwords can bypass other forms of identity confirmation such as facial or fingerprint recognition.  Even portals where your account is protected by a combination of a password and a passkey are not completely safe, as advanced attacking methods that involve SIM duplication can still enable hackers to get around this.

How Passkeys Work?

Your iPhone stores each passkey using iCloud Keychain. From a technical angle, a passkey replaces your password with hidden cryptographic keys. A passkey actually consists of two separate keys, known as a key pair. One key is public and registered with the app or website you’re using. The other key is private and stored only on your mobile device. The key pair seamlessly handles the authentication process between your device and the app or website.

Set Up Passkeys on Your iPhone

icloud passwords and keychain options

Before you can set up passkeys, you must first update your iphone to iOS 16. Go to Settings > General > Software Update and allow the update to install, if you haven’t already done so. To sync passkeys across other Apple devices, you need iPadOS 16 or higher on your iPad and macOS Ventura or newer on your Mac.


Next, you’ll need to enable iCloud Keychain, if it’s not already turned on. Go to Settings > Passwords > Password Options and make sure the AutoFill Passwords switch is turned on. Check the iCloud Passwords & Keychain option as well.

How to Set Up New Passkeys

Generate a passkey for an app

If there’s a supported app or website for which you don’t have an account, you can create a passkey right from the start. For this example, we use the Kayak app, but the steps may differ slightly across different apps.

Generate a passkey for a website

To set up a passkey on a website, navigate to the account creation screen. Enter your email address, then choose the option for Face ID or Touch ID. Tap Continue in response to the notification asking if you want to save a passkey for this site. You’re then logged into the site.

How to Log In With Passkeys

Sign in with a passkey

Now you want to sign into an app for which a passkey has been created. Open the app and navigate to the sign-in screen. Tap the sign in button or link. A notification should pop up asking if you want to sign in with your passkey. Make sure that option is selected and tap Continue. You’re then signed in using your passkey.

Sign into a website with a passkey

To sign into a website for which you have a passkey, navigate to the login screen. Type your email address, if required, then choose whether you want to log in with Face ID, Touch ID, or a security device. A notification should pop up asking if you want to sign in with your passkey. Tap Continue to sign in.


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