I'm no techie, but I am a sucker for anything that will make my life more convenient — so obviously, certain updates from Apple (AKA, the company that created the handheld cellular smart devices that so many of us love) command my undivided attention. At Apple's 2019 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), the tech giant announced some major new updates. On top of doing away with iTunes after 18 long years of iTuning and bringing Dark Mode to your iPhone, the company is launching a service called "Sign In With Apple," which is a single sign-on (SSO) tool that will allow users to log into apps and social media accounts through Apple directly, with the tap of a button. Three cheers for Apple, which is yet again making our lives all the more convenient.
So, how does it work? Well, "Sign In With Apple" is designed to be quick, easy, and secure — exactly as a standard SSO tool should be. When it's launched as part of iOS 13 later this fall, it will allow you to log into apps and websites without having to create a separate account, using your Apple ID.
"Instead of using a social account or filling out forms, verifying email addresses or choosing passwords, customers can simply use their Apple ID to authenticate and Apple will protect users’ privacy by providing developers with a unique random ID," an Apple Newsroom post on the new iOS 13 features says. "Even in cases where developers choose to ask for a name and email address, users have the option to keep their email address private and share a unique random email address instead."
"The 'Sign in with Apple' button will appear inside apps and websites in the same way you see 'Sign in with Google' and 'Sign in with Facebook' buttons," Business Insider reported. "And it will similarly let you access new applications, websites and services without needing to create login information, like usernames and passwords, for each individual site."
Once you tap the button, the SSO will confirm your identity with Face ID or Touch ID and quickly log you in with a new account. It will give you the option to edit the name you use with that account, as well as the option to create a randomized forwarding email address through iCloud. This protects your personal information in the event of a data breach of a third party app, but also lets you simply and easily turn off email updates from that app — no more hunting down that unsubscribe button.
But beyond just ease of use, there's a big reason why you may want to take advantage of the new SSO tool. Apple has continually marketed itself as a company that cares deeply about user privacy, and this focus is perhaps the biggest differentiator that Apple's SSO has over its competitors: "Sign In With Apple" will offers options that allow you to sign into apps and websites anonymously, in an effort to let you share as little of your data with a third-party as possible. By creating a random forwarding address, apps can't easily link your e-mail address with your identity, and bundle it with the address you use with other apps. This prevents apps from creating a digital profile of you, which can be used to sell ads against.
Apple's new, easy-to-use, and ultra-private SSO tool may have an effect on apps' ability to track users the way they're used to. Look out for the "Sign In With Apple" button coming to, well, everywhere in the digital realm where you log in, across all devices and the web. It's projected to go live later this year.