How to Use Passkeys on iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Enjoy a simpler form of website login from any Apple device

What to Know

  • Create Passkey on supported site: Log into account, look for Passkey option in security settings, then follow instructions.
  • To then use a Passkey: At login screen choose Passkey option > email address > verify with Face ID or Touch ID.
  • Passkeys are available on iOS 16 and up, iPadOS 16 and up, and macOS Ventura and up.

Passkeys are Apple's take on a well-known and widely used standard security technology with the goal of eliminating passwords. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to create and use a Passkey on an iPhone or other Apple devices.

How to Create a Passkey on an iPhone

Creating a passkey using an iPhone is relatively simple. In order to create one, though, you need to have:

  • An iPhone running iOS 16 or higher
  • An account with a site or app that supports Passkeys.

Assuming you meet those requirements, here's how to create a passkey:

The screenshots in this article show the process of creating a Passkey for Best Buy. These exact steps apply only to that website. For different sites, the specific steps will likely differ, but the concepts are always the same.

  1. After logging into your account, go to the account settings section, look for security options.

  2. The name of the menu that lets you create a Passkey will be different on each site. It may be called Passkey, or FIDO2 or FIDO credential, or CTAP, face or fingerprint sign in, or WebAuthn. All of these names refer to the same technology Apple uses to create Passkeys.

    Screenshots of account options menu, advanced account options menu, and Passkey set-up menu
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to create the Passkey. Your Passkey will be saved in your iCloud Keychain just like a normal password so you can use it whenever you want to log into this website again.

    Screenshots of option to set up Passkey, setting up Passkey, and confirmation that Passkey is set up

When you create a Passkey, it's specific to the site you created it on just like a password is. So, for every site, app, or account you want to use a Passkey with, you'll need to create a separate Passkey (assuming the site you want to use it with supports Passkeys, of course).

How to Use a Passkey on an iPhone

Once you've seen up a Passkey for a compatible site or app, you won't need to use your password again. You can use the much more secure Passkey instead. Here's how:

Again, this shows the process for signing into Best Buy with a Passkey, but the basic principles apply to any site that supports Passkeys.

  1. Go to the site for which you've created a Passkey. On the sign-in screen, tap the Passkey option (at Best Buy, the option iOS Sign In with WebAuthn, but remember that Passkey has many different names).

  2. Tap the Email Address field and enter the address prompted by your iPhone.

  3. In the pop-up that asks if you want to sign in using your Passkey, tap Continue.

    Sign in screen with Passkey option, sign in screen with email address field, and signing in with a Passkey
  4. Authorize with Face ID or Touch ID and you'll be signed into your account.

    Unlike other uses of Face ID or Touch ID, like with Apple Pay, you cannot enter your device's passcode. Passkeys only work with the biometric security provided by Face ID or Touch ID.

What Is an Apple Passkey and Why Is It Beneficial?

A Passkey might sound a lot like a traditional password and not necessarily worth the hassle of going through these steps. The more you know about Passkeys, though, the more their benefits seem clear.

Passkeys rely on a long-standing security practice that uses a pair of encryption keys. In this situation, every Passkey you create has both a public key and a private key, which are paired with each other. When you set up a Passkey, the public and private keys are created. Your device sends the public key to the website you want to sign into and then uses the private key—which never leaves your device, unlike a password—to verify that you are really you.

As mentioned above, the private key can only be used with the public key to access your account when you use Face ID or Touch ID. This is a crucial aspect of Passkeys: since those systems are so secure, and faking your biometric data is so difficult, the security is extremely high.

So, the benefits of using a Passkey instead of a password include:

  • There's No Password to Steal: Because Passkeys work with a key pair that can only be unlocked when together and with biometrics, phishing and hacking to steal your password literally can't work. That's pretty secure!
  • Passkey Stays On Your Device: Passwords have to be stored on the computers of the company which you have an account with. That means that the password can be stolen from you or the company. That's two risks. With Passkey, the highly secure private key always stays on your device, so the risk is lower.
  • Face ID and Touch ID Are Highly Secure: Apple's biometric-security systems are powerful and extremely difficult to fool, so the likelihood of them being hacked is low.
  • Syncs with iCloud Keychain Across Devices: Once you create a Passkey, it's synced using iCloud Keychain to all of your Apple devices using the same Apple ID. That's easy!
  • Compatible with Non-Apple Devices and Security Devices: Even though your Passkeys are stored on your Apple devices, you can use them on non-Apple devices via a shared QR code. Passkeys can also support security fobs used in many corporate environments.
  • How do I find my Bluetooth passkey on an iPhone?

    Bluetooth devices don't regularly require a password to set up, and they don't use Apple's passkeys, but you might be asked for a PIN, password, or passcode when pairing. If that happens, using the default code "0000" or "1234" should work.

  • How do I access my saved passkeys on my iPhone or iPad?

    Open Settings and select Passwords, then enter your device's password (or use Face ID or Touch ID) when prompted. From there you can freely browse through a list of sites and apps that have associated passwords and passkeys, and select one to see the details. You can also update or delete passkeys from this list.

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