When iOS 16 is released later this fall, you may notice that there are less annoying CAPTCHAs that need you to move a puzzle piece or discern between a hill and a mountain. That’s because Apple is releasing Automatic Verification, a feature for iPhones and Macs that lets select websites verify you’re not a bot without you having to do anything (via report).
Apple developed the solution in collaboration with two large content delivery networks, Fastly and Cloudflare. Sites that use either of the services to guard against spam should be able to take advantage of the system when it launches with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, and stop giving you so many CAPTCHAs.
If you pay attention to how many sites fall down when Fastly or Cloudflare experience problems, you’ll see that a major portion of the internet may become substantially less annoying (especially to those who see CAPTCHAs more often than average because they use a VPN or clear their cookies frequently).
While this isn’t the first attempt to do away with CAPTCHAs, Apple’s size means you might actually make some progress this time. The underlying mechanism, known as Private Access Tokens, is similar to Apple’s password-replacement method.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell: your gadget looks at a multitude of factors to assess whether or not you’re a human. When you visit a website that ordinarily requires you to complete a CAPTCHA, the website might ask your phone or computer if you are a person. You’ll be let through immediately if your device says yes.
You can learn more about the technology by watching Apple’s WWDC session on it, reading Apple Insider’s description, and reading Fastly’s article.
Apple, like other new digital companies, has a privacy tale to go along with it. While your Apple ID is being used as verification that you’re a real person, your phone or computer isn’t sending out the data linked with it (such as your email address or phone number), according to the company. The site receives nothing but a thumbs-up from Apple. Apple, likewise, simply knows that your device is asking it to validate whether you’re a person; it doesn’t know who is asking.
Apple isn’t the only company working on this technology, which is good news for Android and Windows customers. According to Fastly, Google also contributed to its development, and the concept of having a trusted third party vouch for your humanity is being included into internet standards.
Google began implementing a similar system into Chrome about two years ago, and while it appears to be focusing primarily on third-party issuers rather than performing verification itself, You can imagine it eventually creating a system similar to Apple’s for its consumers.
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