Passwordless sign-ins are already a practical reality, but they’re sometimes clunky — and three of the biggest tech companies believe they can reduce the friction. Apple, Google and Microsoft are teaming up to expand support for a password-free sign-in standard from the FIDO Alliance and World Wide Web Consortium. You’ll get to use FIDO authentication on a phone or tablet to sign into an app or website on a nearby device, regardless of platform. Likewise, you’ll often have automatic access to your FIDO credentials without having to add every account on a given device, even on brand new hardware.
The aim is to allow “end-to-end” passwordless sign-ins for apps and websites, not just at certain stages. You’d only need to use biometric scans (such as your face or finger) or a device PIN to sign in at every step. The effort will hopefully prevent successful phishing attacks that trick you into sharing passwords with hackers and scammers.
Apple, Google and Microsoft all plan to make the enhanced zero-password features available on their platforms throughout the “coming year.” You may have to wait for a significant operating system update to see the upgrade. The wait might be endurable, though, if passwords are far less necessary than they are today.