Apple will put an end to captchas, these tests that force you to prove that you are human

While the Apple firm aims to make your passwords disappear, it could soon do the same with captchas. A subject on which Google is already on the offensive.

Apple aims for fluidity. Not content with having already presented the elements allowing in the long term to replace passwords using biometrics and cryptographic keys (Passkeys)the apple firm also unveiled in June a way to circumvent another roadblock that regularly stands in the way of a digital user: captchas.

Whether they’re flipping an image the right way round, deciphering a series of characters in exotic fonts, or even identifying the presence of a bicycle wheel in a blurry image pulled from the depths of the net, they’re slowing down today navigation. The counterpart of a security measure, aimed at ensuring that users connecting to a site and its server are not robots with malicious intentions.

But captchas, beyond their practicality, pose several problems according to Apple: they put off potential customers for brands, require identification and therefore pose a risk in terms of confidentiality, and remain inaccessible to users who do not fail to solve these puzzles for various reasons.

A user identified upstream

On iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, Apple will therefore set up a new fully automated approach, based on what the group calls “Private Access Tokens”. Internet users will be authenticated automatically, without realizing it.

In practice, the servers of the usually protected site will request authentication, which will arrive at the Internet user’s terminal, whether it is an iPhone, an iPad or a Mac. This query will then navigate internally to Apple’s facilities.

The identity of the person will be verified by Apple using the data stored in the terminal itself: passwords, recent connection via facial recognition… It is at this stage that Apple will be able to identify potentially compromised terminals or users whose uses are not normal.

Once past this security lock, a token attesting to the user’s compliance will be sent back to the terminal, then to the server that requested it. Access to the website will be open, without personal data belonging to the Internet user leaking there.

Google has similar projects

This new method, supposed to be completely painless for the site and for the Internet user, will therefore be accessible via iOS 16. The only pitfall then: to make the servers of all sites compatible with this new protocol. To do this, Apple has joined the services of Cloudfare and Fastly, which distribute content on a large network of sites.

Google is developing a similar offer, already available, and named Privacy Pass. Available on Chrome, it also uses Cloudflare services.

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Apple will put an end to captchas, these tests that force you to prove that you are human

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