It looks like we’re closer than we may have thought to get support for physical security keys on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
In the latest developer betas for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, Apple has added support for physical security keys. The feature, which was announced by Apple a week ago, has shown up in the iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2 developer betas that were released earlier today.
In a note at the bottom of the press release when Apple announced support for physical security keys, the company said that “Security Keys for Apple ID will be available globally in early 2023.” So, we can also assume that iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2 will be launching early next year.
Physical security keys
Apple says that Security Keys are designed for “users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists, and members of government. For users who opt in, Security Keys strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of the two factors. This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam.”
The company also mentioned that after launching two-factor authentication for Apple ID in 2015, “more than 95 percent of active iCloud accounts using this protection…it is the most widely used two-factor account security system in the world that we’re aware of.”
In addition to announcing support for physical security keys, Apple also revealed its new Advanced Data Protection feature that offers end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups.
Apple VP Craig Federighi said in an interview that, despite China’s pressure on the company when it comes to user privacy, the company plans to roll out the feature to users in the country. Some users who attempted to enable the feature right away on new devices have found that Apple has blocked such activity.