went big on security and privacy during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote this week, showcasing features from on-device Siri audio processing to a new privacy dashboard for iOS, making it easier to see which apps are collecting your data and when. While typically vocal about during its WWDC developer sessions. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting — and necessary.
Passwordless login with iCloud Keychain
Apple is the latest tech company to take steps to ditch the password. During its “Move beyond passwords” developer session, it previewed Passkeys in iCloud Keychain, a method of passwordless authentication powered by WebAuthn, and Face ID and Touch ID. The feature will ultimately be , so you no longer have to set a password when creating an account, website, or app. Instead, you’ll pick a username and then use Face ID or Touch ID to you. The passkey is then stored in your Keychain and synced across your using iCloud — so you don’t have to remember it or carry around a hardware authenticator key.
“Because it’s just a single tap to sign in, it’s simultaneously easier, faster, and more secure than almost all common forms of authentication today,” said an Apple authentication experienced engineer, Garrett Davidson. While it’s unlikely to be available on your says the feature is still in its ‘early stages, and it’s currently turned off by default — the move is another sign of the growing momentum behind eliminating passwords, which are prone to be forgotten, reused across multiple services, and — ultimately — phishing attacks. 10 password-free, and Google recently confirmed that it’s working towards “creating a future where one day you won’t need a password at all”.
Microphone indicator in macOS
macOS has a new hand to tell you when the microphone is on. (Image: Apple) Since the introduction of iOS 14,have been able to keep an eye on which apps are accessing their microphones via a green or orange dot in the status bar. Now it’s coming to the desktop, too. In macOS Monterey, are accessing their Mac’s microphone in Control Center, MacRumors reports, which will complement the existing hardware-based green light next to Mac’s webcam when the camera is in use.
iOS 15, which will include many privacy-bolstering tools from Mailto App Privacy Reports, is also getting a Secure Paste feature that will help shield your clipboard data from other apps. This feature will enable users to paste content from one app to another without the second app accessing the information on the clipboard until you paste it. This is a significant improvement over iOS 14, which would notify when an app took data from the clipboard but did nothing to prevent it from happening.
“With secure paste, developers can let users paste from a different app without having access to what was copied until the user takes action to paste it into their app,” Apple explains. “When developers use secure paste, users can paste without being alerted via the [clipboard] transparency notification, helping give them peace of mind.” While this feature sounds somewhat insignificant, it’s being introduced following a major privacy issue that came to light . In March 2020, security researchers revealed that dozens of popular iOS including TikTok — were “snooping” on users’ clipboards without their consent, potentially accessing highly sensitive data.
Advanced Fraud Protection for Apple Card
Payments fraud is more prevalent than ever due to the pandemic, and Apple is looking to do something about it. As reported by 9to5Mac, the company has previewed Advanced Fraud Protection, a feature that willgenerate new card numbers in the Wallet app. While details remain thin — the quality isn’t live in the first iOS 15 developer beta — Apple’s explanation suggests that Advanced Fraud Protection will make it possible to generate new — the three-digit number you enter at checkout – when making online purchases. “With Advanced Fraud Protection, Apple Card users can have a that changes regularly to make online Card Number transactions even more secure,” the brief explainer reads. We’ve asked Apple for some more information.
‘Unlock with Apple Watch’ for Siri requests.
As a result of the widespread mask-wearing necessitated by the pandemic, Apple introduced an ‘Unlock with Apple Watch’ in iOS 14.5 that enabled users to unlock their iPhones and authenticate Apple Pay payments using an Apple Watch instead of Face ID. The scope of this feature is expanding with iOS 15, as the company has confirmed that users will soon be able to use this alternative authentication method for Siri requests, such as adjusting phone settings or reading messages. Currently, users must enter a PIN, password, or Face ID. “Use the secure connection to yourfor Siri requests or to unlock your iPhone when an obstruction, like a mask, prevents Face ID from recognizing your Face,” Apple explains. Your watch must be passcode protected, unlocked, and on your wrist close by.”
Standalone security patches
To ensure iPhone users who don’t want to upgrade to iOS 15 immediately are up to date with, Apple will start decoupling patches from feature updates. When iOS 15 lands , users will be given the option to update to the latest version of iOS or to stick with iOS 14 and install the latest security fixes. “iOS now offers a choice between two versions in the Settings app,” Apple explains (via MacRumors). “You can update to the latest iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and get important security version.” This feature sees Apple following in the footsteps of Google, which has long rolled out monthly users.
‘Erase all contents and settings for Mac.
Wiping a Mac has been an uphill task requiring you to erase your device and reinstall macOS. Thankfully, that’s going to change. Apple has brought the “erase all contents and settings” option on iPhones and iPads for years to . “System Preferences now offers an option to erase all and user-installed apps from the system while maintaining the operating system currently installed,” Apple says. The option will let you factory reset your MacBook with just a click. “Because storage is always encrypted on Mac systems with Apple Silicon or the T2 chip, the system is instantly and securely ‘erased’ by destroying the encryption keys.”