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Can’t remember your passwords? Passkeys could make them obsolete

A weak password is a welcome mat for scammers and hackers. Strong, unique passwords are among your first lines of defense when it comes to cybersecurity.

We hope you don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. We hope your passwords aren’t easy to guess. And we really hope your password isn’t “password”! Here are 10 ways to secure your accounts with strong passwords.

Want an easier option? Passkeys take the guesswork out of the whole thing and eliminate passwords altogether. Apple’s passkey system, introduced with iOS 16, is a quick and easy way to get into your accounts.

Here’s how to use passkeys to log into your accounts with your iPhone.

What is a passkey?

Passkeys are unique digital keys that are more secure than two-factor authentication. They use Touch ID or Face ID for verification and are end-to-end encrypted.

Because Apple’s passkeys are synced with your iCloud Keychain, you can use them across your Apple devices. You can even use your iPhone to sign in to apps and websites on non-Apple devices.

The technology goes a long way in preventing cyberattacks, as Apple’s passkeys are linked with the app or website they were created for. When you create an online account with a website, you can use a passkey instead of a password. That passkey is stored on your device, not a server. This considerably reduces your risk of being hacked.

It’s much more difficult for cybercriminals to get a hold of your fingerprint or facial scan information than it is for them to get it through other means, such as brute force attacks.

How to use Apple’s passkey feature

You must have iCloud Keychain turned on and 2FA enabled to use Passkey. And hey, you should have 2FA enabled anyway! Tap or click here for everything you need to know about this important security feature.

Depending on the website, browser or app you’re using, saving a passkey to your iPhone and iCloud Keychain usually consists of these steps:

  • For a new account: Enter an account name on the sign-up screen.
  • For an existing account: Sign in with your password, then go to the account management screen.
  • When you see the option to save a passkey for the account, tap Continue.

When using a device that’s not associated with your Apple ID, you can still sign in to an account by using the passkey stored on your iPhone. Here’s how:

  • Use the other device to go to your account sign-in screen.
  • On the sign-in screen, tap the account name field.
  • Tap Other options, Passkey from nearby device or similar, then follow the onscreen instructions to display a QR code on the screen.
  • Use your iPhone camera to scan the QR code.

RELATED: Security tip: Next time you stay at a hotel, turn on your VPN

Passkeys are coming to Android

Passkeys will not be exclusive to iOS. Google has announced that passkey support is coming to both Android devices and the Google Chrome browser later this year. Google’s passkey system will work much like Apple’s. Passkeys are backed up and synced to computers and Android phones through the cloud.

Users can create and use passkeys on Android devices, which are securely synced through the Google Password Manager. Signing in to an account using passkeys is simple:

  • Select the account you want to sign in to.
  • Present your fingerprint, face or screen lock when prompted.

A passkey on a phone can also be used to sign in on a nearby device. For example, an Android user can sign in to a passkey-enabled website using Safari on a Mac. And passkey support in Chrome means that a Chrome user on Windows can do the same using a passkey stored on their iPhone. Neat!

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