iOS 16.2 is now available worldwide and with this version a lot of new features and tools like the Freeform app. However, Apple continues on its way to improve its operating systems and already has released the first beta of iOS 16.3 for developers. One of the features of this new version that we will probably see throughout the first months of 2023 is the iOS 16 compatibility with 2FA security keys (two-factor security), which would replace the verification codes so commonly used. This is one more move by Apple to adapt to the new authentication standards within the FIDO ecosystem.

Apple moves closer to FIDO with iOS 16.3 support for security keys

To understand a little the importance of these two factor security keys It is essential to understand how the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) standard has drifted in recent years. Today you need to understand that most services that use two-factor authentication require user authentication in two different ways. In fact, currently, we have three ways: username and password, something we “have” (smartphone, SMS, 2FA keys…) and something we “are” (Face ID, fingerprint…).

Access keys are a replacement for passwords and are designed to allow you to sign in to websites and apps without having to enter a password for a more convenient and secure experience. Access keys are standard technology that, unlike passwords, is phishing resistant, always strong, and designed so there are no shared secrets. They simplify account sign-up for apps and websites, are easy to use, and work on all Apple devices (and even non-Apple devices if you’re around).

When we are able to authenticate ourselves in one of these two ways, the service detects that we really have control of the account and gives us access. The physical security keys They are portable devices that can be carried with you and connect to the device to provide the verification code needed to access your account.

iOS 16.3 integrates support for physical security keys in Apple ID. Within the Settings we can register a new key that will allow authentication when logging in on a new device or accessing a certain Apple ID. In fact, those from Cupertino ensure that these physical security keys are a strong protection against phishing and unauthorized access to the account.