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Safari 14 will bring biometric login to websites on iPhone and Mac


As our virtual lives grow more and more complex, the widespread reach of biometric security continues to expand. Almost every part of our digital footprint can already be accessed through our fingerprint or facial features, but it looks like Apple is ready to take things beyond ‘almost’.

As part of the virtual WWDC 2020, WebKit engineer Jiewen Tan introduced support for Web Authentication API on Safari 14 for iOS and Mac. Websites will now have the ability to use an Apple device’s built-in authentication systems for quicker, easier logins, essentially enabling biometric support for thousands of use cases not possible before.

Many or most iOS apps requiring a higher level of security already support biometric login through Face ID or Touch ID, but it’s different for browsers and PCs, where users are generally stuck typing in a username and password—and more often than not, waiting for a 2FA code to arrive via text message as well.

Once this API support becomes more widely integrated across the web, Apple users will likely find that the frequency of needing to remember a password or username is far reduced. This is a huge development for iOS, of course, but also for FIDO, the consortium behind the Web Authentication API. FIDO, or Fast Identity Online, is a cooperative effort from companies like PayPal, Google, Visa, and others that is pushing for alternative authentication standards that are more convenient and secure than passwords.

Hopefully, this will mark the start of a larger shift to enable better, stronger, and faster authentication methods across platforms and devices.

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